On The Navajo Reservation, Turning From Coal To Renewables

By Laurel Morales | NPR | April 7, 2019

The Navajo and Hopi have fought hard to hold on to coal.

Three generations have worked for the West’s largest coal-fired power plant, the Navajo Generating Station. The tribes have relied heavily on its revenue. So when the Phoenix-based Salt River Project announced it was shutting down the plant at the end of the year, the tribe scrambled to find a buyer or — as a last resort — purchase the plant.

It finally came down to a vote late last month at a Navajo Nation CouncilSpecial Session meeting. The delegates deliberated for eight hours.

“Are we ready?” Delegate Nathaniel Brown said. “Are we ready for the shutdown? I don’t think we are. We stand to lose a lot, our children the future generation.”

Delegate Charlaine Tso said she’s done with coal and its health impacts on her people. The plant is one of the country’s biggest carbon emitters.

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