Arizona Corporation Commission delays decision to compensate Navajo Nation for power plant closures

Published: Thursday, October 7, 2021 - 12:26pm
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Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

The Corporation Commission may have made a big move to cut Arizona Public Service's profitability Oct. 6, but it delayed another big decision to provide more than $100 million in financial help to tribal communities hurt by the recent closures of coal-fired power plants. 

The deal would provide $100 million toward economic recovery, and additional money toward electrification efforts on the Navajo Nation — plus an assurance that APS will procure renewable energy from the Nation in the future. But legal questions about the deal arose at the Corporation Commission this week, and regulators voted 3-2 to keep the issue open and address those questions in the future. 

The closure of coal power plants on Navajo and Hopi land have meant huge economic losses for the tribes — and the loss of hundreds of jobs for their people. Not to mention the lasting environmental concerns from decades of coal mining and power production there. 

Nicole Horseherder is the executive director of the group Sacred Water Speaks, which works to facilitate a transition away from fossil fuel development on the Navajo Nation.

The Show spoke with her about the problems the closure of coal powered plants has caused for her people — and her reaction to this decision being delayed. 

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