Potential NGs buyer found; environmentalists protest

Navajo Times | Paul Natonabah
Signs protesting the sale of the Navajo Generating Station hang outside the Council Chamber on Wednesday.


The Navajo Nation has identified a potential buyer for the Navajo Generating Station that would allow it, which along with the Kayenta Coal Mine generates about a third of the Navajo Nation’s budget and 80 percent of the Hopi Tribe’s, to operate beyond the projected closing date of Dec. 22, 2019. “Negotiations with Avenue Capital as the new potential owner and Middle River Power as the new potential operator have begun,” according to a joint press release from the Navajo Nation Council and the president’s office.

The release also states the Hopi Tribe is in agreement with selling the plant to keep it open. According to Avenue Capital Group’s website, the group is “pioneers in the distressed debt market” and its partners have “successfully invested in the public and private debt and equity securities of distressed companies across a variety of industries for over two decades.” Middle River Power, according to its website, is an “asset management platform focused on U.S. power generation assets” with 2,000 megawatts of electrical generation facilities, including natural gas, coal, geothermal and solar, in California, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. President Russell Begaye cautioned that the sale is far from a done deal.

“This selection is a preliminary stage of the process,” he stated in the press release. “No contracts have been signed.” Meanwhile, environmental groups that have opposed the continued operation of the plant have written a letter to the Secretary of the Interior to confirm that any efforts to operate the plant beyond the closing date, when the current owners will pull up stakes, would be subject to the provisions of the National Environmental Protection Act.

This would include finishing an environmental impact statement that was aborted by the Bureau of Reclamation after the current owners announced exit plans last year.

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Categories: News

About Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.