Despite President Trump’s efforts to bring back coal, a coal fired power plant and coal mine on the Navajo Nation face closures. Hundreds of Navajo people who have worked in the coal industry for generations are worried about their futures.
Navajo Nation council members visited the Peabody Coal Mine recently in an attempt to reassure the more than 100 mine employees the tribe is fighting for their jobs.
Tribal leaders have met with federal officials to try to find a solution that won’t shut down the mine or the power plant it supplies. The mine manager reminded the delegates it paid the Navajo Nation $26 million in coal royalties last year.
The Salt River Project announced in February it would close the Navajo Generating Station much earlier than expected because natural gas is so much cheaper than coal.
The electric company said it will continue operating the power plant until 2019 as long as the tribe amends the lease agreement to allow for additional time for reclamation.
If not, the plant will close in July of this year.