May 2, 2018 Read More →

Hopi Tribe, Peabody File Suit to Keep Navajo Plant Running

Associated Press:

The Hopi Tribe and coal mining groups on Tuesday sued the operator of an Arizona aqueduct system to try and keep a coal-fired power plant running beyond 2019.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by the tribe, the United Mine Workers of America and Peabody Energy contends the Central Arizona Water Conservation District is obligated under federal law to buy power from Navajo Generating Station near Page. The 2,250-megawatt plant is set to close next year and the prospects of new ownership depend on finding someone to purchase the electricity.

The conservation district, under the Central Arizona Project, has been one of the primary customers over the years, using the power to send Colorado River water through canals to cities, tribes and farmers in central and southern Arizona. Like the power plant’s owners, it is turning to sources that are cheaper than coal-fired power.

Coal is abundant on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in northeastern Arizona. Both rely heavily on revenues to fund their governments and provide services to tribal members. They’ve been asking for help from federal officials to keep the plant open and preserve hundreds of jobs for tribal members.

DeEtte Person, a spokeswoman for the conservation district, said in an email that officials are reviewing the lawsuit and considering its impact. She previously said the district is not required to take power from the plant and has other resources to pay a federal debt of more than $1 billion for construction of the canal system. The district is a public entity “with a responsibility to deliver a reliable water supply at the lowest reasonable cost,” she said.

More:  Hopi Tribe, Others Sue Over Power Purchases For Coal Plant

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