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Tribes Struggle to Adjust After the Largest Coal Mine in the West Closes

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Tribes Struggle to Adjust After the Largest Coal Mine in the West Closes
Salt River Project-Navajo Generating Station in the red desert of Page, Arizona seen above before it shut down in November 2019.

Members of the Navajo and Hopi tribes are struggling to adjust to a new way of life following the closure of the coal-powered Navajo Generating Station late last year, as leaders look for new sources of revenue and energy.


Both the AP and the Arizona Republic reported last month that Navajo and Hopi tribe members, who had access to coal from the mine to heat their homes, are struggling in their first winter without the mine. Some of the 15,000 families without electricity are traveling for hours to cut wood from forests miles away or rely on local wood delivery service, while others have resorted to burning clothes or furniture to keep warm.

The tribes are also looking to renewables: Earther reports that the Navajo Nation is working with the city of Los Angeles, a partial owner of the former plant, to create a renewable energy hub on the plant's site to help power the city and bring electricity to more tribe members.

For a deeper dive:

AP, Arizona Republic, Earther

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