July 14, 2020 Read More →

Navajo Nation talks to buy Remington Arms may just be latest in potential bad investments

Indian Country Today:

The Navajo Nation seemed to be the answer to Remington Arms’ legal problems. The venerable arms maker is over 200 years old but has been struggling under the weight of lawsuits relating to the manufacture of AR-15 style automatic weapons, typically the gun of choice for perpetrators of mass shootings. Bankruptcy and subsequent sale to a sovereign immune entity, such as a tribal nation, however, seemed like a good move.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the Navajo Nation is once again in talks to buy the beleaguered company.

Such a sale is fraught with tragedy and irony — as well as a financial risk that may not be entirely mitigated by sovereign immunity.

The Navajo Nation recently agreed to negotiate limited waivers of its sovereign immunity with the states of Wyoming and Montana relating to its Navajo Transitional Energy Company. The states insisted on the waiver in order to allow the Company to operate new mines in both states.

The nation created Navajo Transitional Energy in 2013 after purchasing Navajo Mine and the Four Corners Power Plant. Many members of the community opposed the acquisition out of concern for liability issues and the environment. In 2019, Navajo Transitional Energy purchased additional coal mines in Wyoming and Montana; a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis described these acquisitions as “fraught with financial risk.”

[Mary Annette Pember]

More: ‘A lot of questions’ in potential Remington Arms sale to Navajo Nation

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