Originally published Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 01:57p.m.

It is clear that both the Presidents’ office and the Navajo Nation Council are on different tracks when it comes to energy.

At the last council session, council moved the discussion of energy back to the Resources and Development Committee (RDC) with clear instructions to come back with a plan to address the Navajo people’s input and to address declining revenues. The President without a lead energy person stated he established a working committee to address energy with the assistance of Salt River Projects (SRP). Even though council clearly told the President to organize and establish the energy task force committee which will report back to RDC and council with its recommendation. RDC has ultimate authority over natural resources.

The question is, what is SRP’s motive? SRP did offer to assign one of their managers to lead the president’s renewable energy efforts. Once again, SRP stated it will need access to those transmission lines across Navajo land in order to make it work. This all occurred without the Navajo Nation’s or its standing committee RDC input.

What’s interesting is the President stated that he received input from the Navajo people to move down this path. Again, the Navajo Nation Council is clearly asking for a plan to get the Navajo people’s input. When did President Nez and his directors go out and get the people’s input? It’s clear the president doesn’t want to follow directives from the Navajo Nation Council when it comes to energy.

It doesn’t matter what the President and council does when it comes to energy. At the last budget and finance hearing a question arose about energy dollars. The question was very clear, “How much royalty and taxes has renewable energy provided to the Navajo nation coffers after nine months of the administration?” The answer was clearly zero to date. The people are starting to ask the tough questions about renewable energy as the chapter budgets get cut and services to the people decline.

Council once again is also asking the president why SRP is leading the Navajo Nation’s energy efforts? Is it because they still need access to those transmission lines across the Navajo Nation and need to cut a deal?

Lastly, was there already a deal between SRP and the Navajo Nation to close NGS, to give the transmission lines to SRP?

David Begay,

Shiprock, New Mexico

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