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Coal Plant Owners Close To Finalizing Lease Agreement

Owners of the Navajo Generating Station coal-fired plant are close to finalizing a deal to keep it running through the end of 2019.

After months of negotiations, the Navajo Nation and four of the utilities with a stake in the plant have officially signed onto the new lease agreement. That would allow the plant to operate until the end of 2019. The Salt River Project (SRP) and other utilities had already decided not to keep the plant open after then, but without an agreement it would have closed by the end of the year.

“It preserves more than two years of continued employment at the plant as well as the revenues for the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe,” Jeff Lane with SRP said.

That revenue includes more than $100 million in lease payments.

After 2019, Lane said what happens to the plant will be up to the Navajo Nation. The federal government and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power must still sign onto the lease, which is expected to happen by December.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.