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FARMINGTON — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer signed a proclamation on Tuesday that calls on the tribe to pursue renewable energy projects.

The proclamation – named the Navajo Háyoołkááł Proclamation – calls for a diverse energy portfolio and job creation from projects that focus on clean energy development.

It also calls for restoring land and water impacted by uranium and coal mining, developing off-grid solar-generated electricity for homes, and building utility scale renewable energy projects that supply tribal and state lands.

"What we are doing today is planting a seed," Nez said during the signing ceremony in Window Rock, Arizona.

Among the utility scale projects mentioned during the signing ceremony is a proposed solar farm situated on Paragon Ranch, a 22,000-acre parcel located south of Farmington.

A similar project is proposed for an area in Tsé Daa K'aan Chapter, Nez said.

The Paragon Ranch project is part of $2 million the tribe is seeking for renewable energy projects in the capital outlay bill that awaits Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's signature.

Robert K. Black Jr., executive director for the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Office, said the project for Paragon Ranch has been under development for years.

Nez said the proclamation sends a message that the tribe is continuing to embrace change and wants to be the leader in renewable energy in Indian Country.

The proclamation also supports amending the tribe's energy policy from 2013 and creating an energy office to oversee energy projects and development.

The action by Nez and Lizer comes after Delegate Elmer Begay introduced a bill to shift the tribe's reliance on coal mining to renewable energy sources.

Begay, who attended the signing ceremony, commended the proclamation because it includes a call for restoring land defaced by mining activities.

For many years, the grassroots people have called for preserving the land and now that will be done, Begay said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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