Congressmen Paul Gosar and Trent Franks Request a Congressional Hearing about the Navajo Generating Station

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 3, 2011

CONTACT: Stefani Zimmerman, 202-225-2315

Congressmen Paul Gosar and Trent Franks Request a Congressional Hearing about the Navajo Generating Station

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressmen Paul Gosar, DDS (AZ-01) and Trent Franks (AZ-02) sent a joint letter to the Chairmen of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power and the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, requesting a hearing regarding the Navajo Generating Station (NGS).

The NGS, which is located near Page, Arizona, provides 95% of the power needed for the Central Arizona Project (CAP).  45 percent of the City of Phoenix and 80 percent of the City of Tucson depend on the NGS and the CAP for their water supply.  Furthermore, the NGS provides over 500 good paying jobs to the area, over 80 percent of which go to members of the Navajo Nation.  The plant and the associated Kayenta coal mine provides $137 million in revenue and wages to the Navajo Nation and its tribal members, and about $12 million annually to the Hopi Tribe, nearly 88 percent of their annual operating budget. 

Franks and Gosar are concerned about the future of the NGS and Arizona’s water supply because of burdensome regulations that threaten the viability of the plant. 

“My district faces extremely high unemployment, especially on tribal lands near the Navajo Generating Station.  I have requested this hearing so that my colleagues can understand the significant impact the NGS has on our local economy,” said Rep. Gosar.  “The plant and associated mine provides nearly 1,000 jobs in Northern Arizona, is critical to the livelihood of the Pinal County and Native American agricultural community, and is essential to supplying water to 80% of the state’s population. We must carefully examine regulations that could threaten the State of Arizona’s water and power supply.”

Rep. Gosar, a member of the Natural Resources Committee, has been an outspoken advocate on the committee to raise concerns about problems impacting his constituents.  He spoke at a hearing with the Navajo Nation’s President Shelly about NGS here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OyQQUJW0d4&feature=channel_video_title.  In another recent hearing he spoke about the water and power concerns with NGS here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTOgxzdJ8MA

"This situation is a stunning example of environmentalism run amuck. Closing the Navajo Generating Station would be devastating to the economies of the surrounding region, including those of the Hopi and Navajo tribes,” said Rep. Franks.

"As the sole remaining buyer of coal from the Hopi tribe, shutting down the NGS would cut nearly 90% of the tribe's income and would effectively shut down the Hopi tribe as a functioning government, in addition to putting hundreds of Arizonans (including hundreds of members of the Navajo tribe) out of work, and affecting hundreds of thousands of Arizonans' current ability to receive water and electricity.

"In exchange for all of the difficulties created, the only 'benefit' yielded by the dismantling of the NGS would be a change in visibility so slight as to not even be detectable without specialized equipment that is significantly more sensitive than the human eye. In other words, the supposed environmental benefit is functionally non-existent.

"This is far beyond the pale of environmental stewardship, and I look forward to a hearing during which these concerns can be laid out in greater detail."