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Representatives of DINE’ CARE (Citizens Against Ruining the Environment) speak with Navajo Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie about their concerns regarding the Council’s pending approval of a $4.1 million grant from the tribal Undesignated Unreserves Fund, which is a fund initially created by the Council to fund the tribal government for six months in the event of an emergency. The $4.1 million grant was for the tribal government’s newest enterprise, the Navajo Transitional Energy Company, LLC, which the Council created to finalize an agreement with BHP Billiton for the tribe to purchase its coal mine for $85 million.

Reserves Fund: The six months budget was based on the annual tribal government budget amount. But over the years, the Council repeatedly dipped into the Reserves by waiving the mandatory requirement to maintain the Reserves at a six month budget level, and so the Council amended the Reserves law and reduced the mandatory balance amount to 10 percent of the previous annual budget.

Dine’ CARE held a press conference before the Council’s special session on Oct. 16, 2013, in front of the Council chamber in Window Rock, Ariz., to oppose the Council’s approval of the $4.1 million for NTEC. The Council approved the $4.1 million with a vote of 17 in favor, 2 opposed on Oct. 16, 2013. Delegate Tsosie was among the 17 “yes” votes. But Delegate Tsosie lead an amendment to the $4.1 m. legislation that removed a section, which would have allowed NTEC to get a $36 million loan by using the tribal Permanent Trust Fund interest as collateral. The Council approved Tsosie’s amendment with a vote of 15 in favor, 3 opposed.

Dine’ CARE press release, 10-16-13