Feb 16, 2013 5:33 PM by Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) - The Navajo Nation has reached an agreement in extending a lease for a coal-power plant that would give the tribe a substantial boost in annual payments.
The proposed agreement, posted Friday on the tribe's website, is for a 25-year lease that will expire in 2044 and will increase lease payments from $3 million a year to $45 million a year to the tribe.
The original lease allows the owners of the power plant to extend it without the approval of the Navajo Nation, but plant operator Salt River Project says it wanted to gain the tribe's support before taking the lease extension to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Navajo Nation spokesman Erny Zah says the tribe took advantage of the negotiations as a way to gain more favorable terms.
The Navajo Nation Council has not scheduled a vote.