With the Navajo Generating Station gone, we need help luring renewable energy investment to our land

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Chris Deschene, Opinion contributor
Published 6:00 a.m. MT May 23, 2020
CLOSE AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideThe world is changing right before our eyes. I will be 49 this summer, about the same age as our remote community of LeChee, Navajo Nation near Page, Arizona.And, for all these years, I can tell you that Page has flourished while LeChee has languished for nearly five decades due to poverty, unemployment, lack of resources and infrastructure. In particular, Page has thrived from the operation of Navajo Generating Station or NGS, a 2.25 megawatt coal-fired electric generation station. Last December, NGS’s owners shut down it because it was no longer economically viable and profitable given the coal industries decline.  Since the Navajo Nation had no ownership, it was powerless to stop this closure.  While Arizona benefited from tax revenues, NGS also provided 45 years of employment and royalties paid to the Navajo and Hopi tribal coffers.It wasn’t supposed to close until 2044.NGS’s closure revealed that while distant utilities and energy industries were making transitions based upon economic trends and profit predictions, the Navajo Nation wasn’t aware much less prepared to make a just transition. Its closure highlighted an absence of community transition …

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