Protest against Navajo government’s NGS purchase

PRESS RELEASE – Navajo community members gather outside Navajo Council summer session to protest negotiations with Wall Street “vulture capitalists” on NGS

WHAT: As the Navajo Nation Tribal Council convenes for its summer legislative session, members of the Navajo advocacy group Diné CARE and others will gather outside council chambers in Window Rock to voice their concerns about negotiations between Wall Street hedge fund traders and the Navajo government over continued operation of Navajo Generating Station past its scheduled December 2019 closure date. Navajo community members will “air the dirty laundry” of what will happen if Avenue Capital follows through to buy the plant, which is losing hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

WHY: The closure of NGS in less than two years is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Navajo Nation to move beyond 50 years of forced economic dependence on coal and toward a sustainable clean energy future. The purchase of the plant by Wall Street speculators – led by tycoon Marc Lasry – threatens to block that path. Lasry’s firm, Avenue Capital, specializes in scooping up “distressed” assets and squeezing profits from them for short-term gains. Navajo communities and leaders need to understand the significant losses that will befall the tribe if a predatory Wall Street hedge fund takes over at NGS.

WHO: Members of Diné CARE and Navajo communities impacted by almost five decades of colonized dependence on coal

WHEN: Wednesday, July 18, 2018, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Navajo Time (MDT)

WHERE: Outside the east entrance of Navajo Nation Council Chambers in Window Rock

VISUALS: Advocates will air the “dirty laundry” of NGS, with posters on topics such as: the harm the power plant and Kayenta coal mine have done to Navajo air, land and water; the hundreds of millions of dollars in assets from current owners that the tribe will lose if NGS is sold to new owners; the financial risks to workers and tribal revenue of a sale

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PRESS RELEASE – NAVAJO NATION AND HOPI TRIBE STAND UNITED ON THE CONTINUATION OF NAVAJO GENERATING STATION
WINDOW ROCK — On Thursday, July 12, leaders of the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe reaffirmed their support for the continuation of the Navajo Generating Station for the benefit of the Navajo and Hopi people. The current two-year agreement allows for NGS to continue operating until the end of 2019.

The Navajo Nation has selected a potential new owner and new operator that would allow for the continuation of the Navajo Generating Station beyond 2019. Negotiations with Avenue Capital as the new potential owner and Middle River Power as the new potential operator have begun.

“We look forward to the negotiations that need to take place and the continued collaboration with NGS owners in ensuring the transfer of assets,” President Russell Begaye said. “This selection is a preliminary stage of the process. No contracts have been signed. MRP has been given the opportunity to move forward in becoming the new owner of NGS. We will do everything we can to make sure this is a successful partnership.”

Navajo and Hopi leaders agree that there is much at stake in the negotiations including hundreds of high skilled jobs and a significant source of revenues that provide direct services to Navajo and Hopi people.

“The Hopi Tribe remains hopeful that these negotiations will be successful for the economic benefit of the Hopi and Navajo People,” said Hopi Tribal Chairman Timothy L. Nuvangyaoma.

“The economic security of the Hopi Tribe is not merely about money, it’s about stewardship – protecting the future and welfare of all who live in our communities,” Hopi Tribal Vice Chairman Clark W. Tenakhongva added.

Continuing NGS operations will ensure continued payment of royalties to both the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe, and secure many jobs for workers at Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta Mine.

In regards to the ongoing discussions, Speaker LoRenzo Bates said he looks forward to the successful negotiation of new ownership and continued operations of the Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta Mine.

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