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A look at coal-fired power plants set to close in US West

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Tribal Coal Losing a Livelihood

This Aug. 19, 2019, image shows the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station near Page, Ariz. The power plant will close before the year ends, upending the lives of hundreds of mostly Native American workers who mined coal, loaded it and played a part in producing electricity that powered the American Southwest. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

LECHEE, Ariz. (AP) — One of the largest coal-fired power plants in the U.S. West is shutting down by the end of the year in a region where unemployment is 50 percent or higher and Native American tribes depend on coal revenue to fund their governments.

The Navajo Generating Station near the Arizona-Utah border has been operating since the mid-1970s with hundreds of mostly Navajo workers. It also powered a canal system that sent Colorado River water to Arizona's major metropolitan areas.

Here's a look at the plant and others in the Southwest that plan to close as utilities increasingly turn to cheaper or renewable sources of energy:



Location: LeChee, Arizona, on the Navajo reservation

Output: One of three units shut down in September, leaving 1,500 megawatts

Owners: Salt River Project, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Arizona Public Service Co., NV Energy, Tucson Electric Power

Workforce: 500 before announcement of closure, more than 90% Navajo

Fuel source: Now-shuttered Kayenta Mine, coal jointly owned by Navajo and Hopi tribes

Planned closure: End of 2019



Location: Fruitland, New Mexico, on the Navajo reservation

Output: Three of five units shut down in 2014, leaving 1,540 megawatts

Owners: Arizona Public Service Co., Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Salt River Project, Navajo Nation, Tucson Electric Power

Workforce: About 325, more than 80% Native American

Fuel source: Navajo Mine, owned by the Navajo Nation

Planned closure: By 2038



Location: Near Farmington, New Mexico

Output: Two of four units closed in 2017, leaving 924 megawatts

Owner: Public Service Co. of New Mexico

Workforce: About 200, 27% Navajo

Fuel source: San Juan Mine in northwestern New Mexico

Planned closure: 2022



Location: Joseph City, Arizona

Output: One of four units shut down in 2015, leaving 782 megawatts

Owners: Arizona Public Service Co. and PacifiCorp

Workforce: About 200

Fuel source: El Segundo Mine in northwestern New Mexico

Planned closure: 2025



Location: Near St. Johns, Arizona

Output: Two units, 773 megawatts

Owner: Salt River Project

Workforce: 200, about 10% Native American

Fuel source: Antelope Mine in Wyoming and Spring Creek Mine in Montana, delivered via rail line

Planned closure: Sometime in the next 15 years



Location: Laughlin, Nevada

Output: Two units, 1,580 megawatts

Owners: Southern California Edison, Salt River Project, NV Energy and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Workforce: 300

Fuel source: Now-shuttered Black Mesa Mine, coal jointly owned by Navajo and Hopi tribes

Shut down: 2005