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Navajo lawmakers take up energy-related bills

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -- Navajo lawmakers have approved a $4 million appropriation to a tribal company set up to purchase a coal mine in northwestern New Mexico.

The vote Wednesday came during a special session of the Navajo Nation Council in Window Rock.

The bill will give an initial infusion of cash to the Navajo Transitional Energy Company, LLC., if tribal President Ben Shelly approves it.

Shelly has said he won't support the purchase of the Navajo Mine from BHP Billiton if lawmakers don't vote to update the tribe's 1980 energy policy.

A bill to do so had been on the council's agenda Wednesday. But the council lost a quorum.

The measure states that coal would remain a key part of the tribe's energy future. It says renewable energy also will be developed.

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