July 17, 2018 / Modified jul 17, 2018 10:47 a.m.

Navajo Nation Begins Negotiations With Possible New Coal Plant Owner

President Russell Begaye said Monday that an agreement with New York-based Avenue Capital could be in front of lawmakers by October.

Colorado Navajo Gen hero The Navajo Generating Station can be seen beyond Lake Powell near Page, Arizona, April 2018. (PHOTO: Vanessa Barchfield, AZPM)

WINDOW ROCK — Leaders from the Navajo Nation say they've begun negotiations with a potential new owner of a coal-fired power plant on their land.

The Navajo Generating Station near Page is scheduled to shut down in December 2019.

The plant's coal supplier has been leading an effort to find a new owner.

Navajo President Russell Begaye says the tribe is negotiating with New York-based Avenue Capital for ownership and one of its subsidiaries, Middle River Power, as an operator.

Begaye told lawmakers Monday that an agreement could be ready for them to consider by October. He acknowledged it's an ambitious timeframe for a process that generally takes years.

Environmental groups have said the coal plant is not worth saving and have urged tribal officials to focus on renewable energy projects.

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