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Navajo leader urges approval of Arizona coal plant lease

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Navajo President Ben Shelly is urging tribal lawmakers to approve a lease extension for a coal-fired power plant on the reservation.

The current lease for the Navajo Generating Station in Page provides the tribe with about $3 million a year. That amount would increase to $43 million a year, starting in 2019, if the Tribal Council approves an extension to 2044.

Lawmakers gathered in Window Rock are expected to take up the agreement this week.

Shelly says there's little, if any, room to renegotiate it. He says further negotiations would be detrimental to the tribe and those who work for the power plant and the coal mine that feeds it.

The Salt River Project operates the power plant, which allows for water delivery to Arizona's major metropolitan areas.

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