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West's Largest Coal Plant Faces Challenges

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West's Largest Coal Plant Faces Challenges

West's Largest Coal Plant Faces Challenges

Photo courtesy National Park Serivce.

Navajo Generating Station.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Navajo Council started its spring session this week in Window Rock. The tribal leaders will vote this session on whether to extend the lease with a coal-fired power plant in northern Arizona.

The Navajo Nation Council will decide whether to approve a 25-year lease for the Navajo Generating Station. Approving the contract would mean increased annual payments to the tribe from $3 million to $40 million a year. The council is split on the lease extension. Some want the money and the jobs. Others want to switch to renewable energy or a less polluting industry.

The Navajo Generating Station supplies hundreds of jobs to the Navajo and Hopi, and electricity for much of Arizona, California and Nevada.

The lease with the tribe is only one of the many challenges the operator faces.

The Environmental Protection Agency may impose new rules that require the plant to install a billion dollars in emission control technology to improve visibility at the nearby Grand Canyon. The public comment period ends May 6.

Laurel Morales was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2011 to 2020.