Jul 31, 2013 2:38 PM by Associated Press

Navajo president OKs power plant lease extension

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) - Navajo President Ben Shelly has approved a lease extension for a coal-fired power plant on the reservation that will allow it to keep operating until 2044.

Shelly signed the measure Tuesday, saying the Navajo Generating Station has long been a source of jobs and revenue for the tribe.

The agreement between the tribe and the owners of the power plant near Page boosts yearly payments to the Navajo Nation from $3 million to $43 million.

The electricity generated by the plant delivers water to Arizona's most populated areas through a series of canals. It also ensures that water rights settlements with American Indian tribes are met.

The plant's operator, the Salt River Project, had indicated that amendments to the lease agreement were acceptable.

The lease had been set to expire in 2019.

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