Navajo coal-impacted community members traveled to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to testify and provide public comment before the Administrative Law Judge on the Arizona Public Service rate case on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, in Phoenix, Arizona. View the recorded livestream at the link here: Hearing – E-01345A-22-0144 – Arizona Pubic Service Company
After the closure of Navajo Generating Station (NGS), Navajo communities in the Four Corners region lost both coal plant and coal mine jobs, and a steady revenue stream to Tribal Government overnight. Critically, these operations also depleted significant water sources that were leased to support the mining and power plant. Depleted water sources make it more difficult to effectively plan for economic development. To bring awareness for the need to support economic transition in these impacted communities, Citizen Groups have intervened in the APS rate case. Currently, APS is in a rate case at the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) deciding upon the amount of funding for Coal Community Transition (CCT) support for the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe.
In 2019, the sudden and unexpected closure of NGS left several communities struggling to pick up the pieces that were inadequately supported by shareholders and owners of the coal-fired power plant. One of the shareholders included Arizona Public Services (APS). While APS owned only 14% of NGS, the public service company’s economic gain and ability to provide reliable electricity to customers in service areas outside of the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe are reasons that APS should be held accountable to both of the Tribes that suffered economic revenue loss after NGS’s closure.
One way to ensure community protection is through the Coal Community Transition proposal offered by APS. While we recognize that the package proposed by APS is not sufficient to address the massive disruptions and need for economic recovery and planning faced by coal-impacted communities, support of this package will help communities own and recover some losses experienced during the NGS closure.
Tó Nizhoní Ání, Diné C.A.R.E., Black Mesa Trust, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Vote Solar, and several other organizations have identified that all community members on Navajo and in surrounding communities were and are directly impacted by the operations of coal-burning plants partially owned by Arizona Public Services Company (APS). Fuel for each of these plants was provided exclusively by coal mines on or near land belonging to the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe.
As Tribal members of the Navajo Nation and directly impacted individuals by the closure of Navajo Generating Station, we respectfully urge you to approve the remainder of APS’s Coal Community Transition (CCT) proposal, which was partially approved in the last rate case, as well as the funding needs identified by the Hopi Tribe and the Joseph City Unified School District. It is fair, reasonable and in the best interest of the public.