"FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The challenges facing a proposed coal-fired power plant on the country's largest Indian reservation are stark: the withdrawal of a key federal permit, no secured customer or transmission line, and uncertainty over the future of climate change.
The Navajo Nation acknowledges the challenges, but both the tribe and its partner in building the $3 billion, 1,500-megawatt Desert Rock Energy Project say they are committed to moving forward. Environmentalists who have fought the project contend it will be nearly impossible to do so.
"It would be a big load off the federal government's mind if Desert Rock goes away, and it will make the states happy and the environmentalists happy, and they all dance around," said Steve Begay, general manager of the tribe's Dine Power Authority. "There's a probability of it, but hopefully it's a very small probability."
The plant was scheduled to begin operating this year, with hundreds of Navajos on the employment rolls, and tax and royalty payments of $50 million a year to the financially impoverished tribe. The tribe has partnered with Houston-based Sithe Global Power on the project."