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As renewable energy and natural gas costs decline, it's harder to justify coal energy. Many utilities also are closing coal-generation plants in Indiana and elsewhere. Dwight Adams, dwight.adams@indystar.com

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez introduced a strategic plan that outlines his administration's path forward and goals for agencies under the executive branch.

Nez spoke about the plan – a 173-page document named the Hozhó Diné Bi Nahat'á Strategic Plan – during the State of the Nation address on July 15 at the Navajo Nation Council summer session in Window Rock.

The president emphasized the need for the administration to have vision and purpose, including those based on interaction with community members, and the plan sets momentum for the administration to accomplish those goals.

"These are the priorities that we felt we could address for the next four years," he said.

Vice President Myron Lizer gave an overview about the administration's budget priorities for fiscal year 2020, which proposes approximately $167 million in allocations to the three branches – an amount $5 million less than the current fiscal year.

The decline in revenue is due to the pending closures of the Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona and the Kayenta Mine, the coal mine that supplies the power plant.

Lizer said the executive branch is "striving" to forward a fiscally responsible budget based on prudence, meeting direct services, eliminating excessive spending and the duplication of services, and promoting the purchase of products and services at the local level, as known as "Buy Navajo, Buy Local."

The three branch chiefs, which includes Speaker Seth Damon and Chief Justice JoAnn Jayne, agreed in May to the proposed budget for the new fiscal year that starts on Oct. 1.

In the written report released by the president's office, the decommission of NGS is ongoing with the last delivery of coal by train planned for Aug. 31.

The report states except for delays, unit 3 will stop operating first, followed by unit 2. The remaining unit will end operation in December.

Nez and Lizer along with several division directors toured the power plant and its property on June 29 to learn about assets the tribe will obtain.

Lizer said the administration continues to encourage employees to transition into business owners by using skills and experiences gained while working at NGS and Kayenta Mine.

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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