Navajo Nation Speaker LoRenzo Bates supports mine workersand families at the “Vote No” on Prop. 127 rally

Navajo Nation Speaker LoRenzo Bates with Navajo coal miners at the Arizona State Capitol building following a march in opposition to Proposition 127 in Phoenix, Ariz. on Oct. 9. 2018.

Published October 13, 2018

PHOENIX — On Tuesday, Speaker LoRenzo Bates (Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Tse’Daa’Kaan, Upper Fruitland) attended the “Vote No” rally on Proposition 127 at the Arizona State Capitol to support Kayenta and Navajo Mine workers, families, Navajo Transitional Energy Company, and supporters.

Speaker Bates is asking Arizona voters to join the Navajo Nation in voting “No” on Proposition 127, the “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” initiative, which would require utility companies to obtain 50-percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2030. Voters will decide the outcome during the upcoming Nov. 6 general election.

During the rally, Speaker Bates said while the Navajo Nation does support renewable energy development, the Navajo Nation does not support the way in which Proposition 127 would irresponsibly impose requirements and infringe on the sovereign status of tribes throughout the state of Arizona.

He added that if passed, the measure would negatively impact utility costs, employment, revenue, and other factors for all Arizona citizens, including members of the Navajo Nation.

“Recently, the Navajo Nation took important steps to promote and develop renewable energy, which is evident with the recent opening of the Kayenta Solar Facility – a two-phased project that provides over 55 megawatts of solar energy for homes and other uses. This is a prime example of the Navajo Nation’s responsible transition to renewable energy. The Navajo Nation has spoken and established our official position on this matter,” stated Speaker Bates.

In July, members of the Navajo Nation Council passed a resolution opposing Proposition 127 for several reasons including the fact that the proposed initiative would impose a dramatic increase in electricity bills, particularly for low-income and fixed-income Navajo families.

“The proposition would likely lead to the closure of the Four Corners Power Plant and the Navajo Mine, which combined have a $225 million impact on regional economies and provide more than $100 million in royalties, taxes, and fees to the Navajo Nation and other governmental entities and provides nearly 800 jobs, most of which are Native American workers,” said Speaker Bates.

Navajo Mine heavy equipment operator Arnold Hatathle stated that Proposition 127 would threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of families and further impact the unemployment rate of the Navajo Nation, which is already over 46-percent.

Speaker Bates said the people pushing this initiative did not take into account the sovereign status of the Navajo Nation and the impact that it would have on utility rates for Navajo families and the overall economy.

“We support renewable energy, however, we do not support the irresponsible process that this initiative is proposing. Once again, I respectfully ask all Arizonans to join the Navajo Nation on November 6th in voting “No” on Proposition 127,” said Speaker Bates.

To learn more about Proposition 127, please visit: www.savenativeamericanfamilies.com or https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyW2ZeWAtU1m0pUik4symiA/videos?view_as=subscriber.

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