The Bureau of Reclamation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have approved an extension lease for the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) that allows operation of the coal-fired power plant to continue through 22 December, 2019.
Without the extension, activities to retire the plant would be required to begin in the coming year.
The Department of the Interior bureaus approved the extension lease following an environmental review which concluded earlier this week. The Navajo Generating Station Extension Lease Environmental Assessment (EA) and draft Findings of No Significant Impact were issued for public review and comment from October 5 to November 3, 2017. Comments were received from 10 entities. Minor corrections and clarifications to the EA were made where appropriate.
Under the extension lease approved today, coal combustion at NGS will cease by December 22, 2019. Retirement of the facility would then begin, to be completed by December 22, 2024. The lease provides five years for the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District to complete plant retirement and 30 years for long-term monitoring and remediation.
While the extension lease does not authorize coal combustion after December 22, 2019, efforts are continuing between the Navajo Nation and NGS stakeholders to develop agreements for post-2019 operations, which would require appropriate approvals and environmental review. Reclamation and BIA are monitoring developments to anticipate potential impacts to those who historically have received benefits from NGS operations, including Navajo and Hopi stakeholders and other Tribal interests.