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Navajo leader: Tribe won't financially back energy company

Posted at 5:01 PM, Nov 12, 2019

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - The Navajo Nation president says the tribe will not financially back the bonds a tribal energy company needs for a trio of newly acquired coal mines off the reservation.

The Navajo Transitional Energy Co. recently bought Montana's largest coal mine and two others in Wyoming at auction after Cloud Peak Energy declared bankruptcy.

The three mines employ hundreds of people. State officials say the mines can keep operating for now because reclamation bonds posted by Cloud Peak remain in place. The bonds are estimated at more than $370 million.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez said Tuesday that he's canceled agreements the tribal company might rely on to seek the Navajo Nation's financial backing for the bonds.

Navajo Nation lawmakers had been considering legislation to do the same.