Navajo Council work session has started on Delegate Bates’ legislation 0367-13 which relates to the tribal government’s pursuit of the take over of BHP’s coal mining operation via Navajo Transitional Energy Company.
ATTORNEY GENERAL HARRISON TOSIE
We need to understand the environment we are in so fully understand why these bonds are needed. And that is the whole purpose of this and you are educated and you make informed decision and we want to make sure you fully understand consequences also.
first of all, I remind everyone, as Delegates Bates said, little over year ago, year ago in 2012, the Navajo Nation became aware that BHP and Four Corners Power Plant couldn’t agree on the price of coal in the futre and that signaled to us that without fuel supply FCPP couldn’t operate. And the lease expires in 2016 for FCPP. That being the case, it crated situatin where Navajo nation had to decide if cuould live without coal mine and power plant.
I draw things out which is how I relate. and also keep in mind the “fragile” enconomy of rez, over 50 percent unemployment, lot of ppel work here in Window Rock, ongoing cocerns of coal mine workers, power plant workers. So wat doing here is reserving economy. Lot of pple may we raise sheep, cattle. But I know that get crops and livestock once a year and usually spring when fatten and sell.
but with this industry, coal extracted daily and pple paid daily, burned daily and electricity is what sell to outsiders. so this activity generates income 24/7. it’s one of the few industries that exist on rez that generate that kind of income. that is one think I wanted everyone to recognize.
Delegate Bates also said that we are going into business venture to supply coal to another business. when you go to school, there are certain areas that you study, theories of law that are so general and one is called contract law. and the concept in the US is that pple have no obligation or duties to each other and create duty and obligation thru law of contracts. And have to fulfill certain things for contract and when have dispute there are defenses that can be raised. And that arena is what we are stepping into. That is what this issue is about. We have acquired mine from BHP and now to make coal supply and own mine, the federal government, via Office of Surface Mining, requires reclamation insurance and reclamation bond. And BHP and Four Corners Power Plant wants performance bond or guarantee to insure that NTEC lives up to its obligation to do reclamation and provide coal.
So when asked of us we went to insurance companies.