WINDOW ROCK – On Monday, in a press release Speaker LoRenzo Bates (Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Tse’Daa’Kaan, Upper Fruitland) issued a statement asking Arizona voters to join the Navajo Nation on November 6 in voting “No” on Proposition 127, the “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” initiative, which would require utility companies to obtain 50-percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2030.
Speaker Bates said while the Navajo Nation does support renewable energy development, the Navajo Nation does not support the way in which Proposition 127 would impose requirements and infringe on the sovereign status of tribes throughout the state. He added that if passed, the measure would negatively impact utility costs, employment, revenue, and other factors for all Arizona citizens, including members of the Navajo Nation.
“In recent years, the Navajo Nation has taken important steps to promote and develop renewable energy, which is evident with the recent opening of the Kayenta Solar Facility – a two-phased project that provides over 55 megawatts of solar energy for homes and other uses. This is a prime example of the Navajo Nation’s responsible transition to renewable energy. The Navajo Nation has spoken and established our official position on this matter,” stated Speaker Bates.
In July, members of the Navajo Nation Council passed a resolution opposing Proposition 127 for several reasons including the fact that the proposed initiative would impose a dramatic increase in electricity bills, particularly for low-income and fixed-income Navajo families.
In addition, the initiative would likely lead to the closure of the Four Corners Power Plant and the Navajo Mine, which combined have a $225 million impact on regional economies and provide more than $100 million in royalties, taxes, and fees to the Navajo Nation and other governmental entities and provides nearly 800 jobs, most of which are Native American workers.
“We must also remember that the state of Arizona already has renewable energy standards that provide a more fair and realistic timeline for transition. In 2006, the state initiated renewable energy standards when the Arizona Corporation Commission voted to require electric utilities to generate 15-percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. This is a much more realistic approach for the Navajo Nation and the entire state,” Speaker Bates said.
He also said that the people pushing this initiative did not take into account the sovereign status of the Navajo Nation and the impact that it would have on utility rates for Navajo families and the overall economy
“We support renewable energy, but we do not support the process that this initiative is proposing. Once again, I respectfully ask all Arizonans to join the Navajo Nation on November 6th in voting “No” on Proposition 127,” Speaker Bates added.