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Arizona coal-fired power plant seeks time to negotiate with potential buyer

Navajo Generating Station supporters rallied at the Arizona Capitol on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. (Kathy Cline/KTAR.com)

PHOENIX — Supporters of a northern Arizona coal-fired power plant slated for closure rallied at the state Capitol on Wednesday morning, seeking time to negotiate with a potential buyer.

“Yes to NGS” announced that Middle River Power is interested in buying the Navajo Generating Station near Page and keeping it in use.

Group founder Sidney Hay said the Central Arizona Project — the power plant’s main customer — should give the current and potential plant owners 90 days to conclude negotiations.

“We’ve been able to bring together this enormous coalition of support to keep NGS online, and we’re still in this fight,” Hay said. “All we need is a little more time.”

She then led a chant of “Just 90 days.”

“It takes a little time,” Hay said. “Ninety days can be the game-changer here.”

CAP’s board is meeting Thursday to discuss alternate power options it said would be cleaner and cheaper.

Losing CAP as a customer would devastate the Navajo and Hopi tribes, according to Hopi Tribe Vice Chairman Clark Tenakhongva.

“At stake is 85 percent of our tribal revenue used for the health and welfare of our people,” he said.

Miners and other supporters say closing the station would cost them good jobs and income.

The potential buyer, Middle River Power, currently operates power plants in Maryland, Texas, California, West Virginia and Virginia.

The Navajo Generating Station is a 2,250-megawatt plant that serves customers in Arizona, Nevada and California and generates power for CAP to pump Colorado River water.

Last year, the owners voted to close the facility when the current lease expires in 2019.

On Thursday, a Chicago-based firm said it was submitting a proposal to purchase the station, which could save hundreds of jobs and stall plans to close the plant.