Council Approves Partnership with Navajo Nation to Implement Environmental Justice Measures on Ancestral Land

Navajo Nation

LOS ANGELES - Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell led his colleagues Wednesday in a unanimous vote that will move the city toward implementing clean energy technologies at a former coal-fueled station that was once co-owned by the Department of Water and Power and the Navajo Nation.

Councilmember O’Farrell, a member of the Wyandotte Nation and the first Los Angeles City Councilmember belonging  to a federally-recognized tribe, is spearheading the initiative that directs the Department of Water & Power to report on the feasibility of entering into a partnership with the Navajo Nation to produce clean, cost-effective energy at the former Navajo Generating Station located near Page, Arizona.

“Through this initiative, we are working with our partners in the Navajo Nation to obtain cost-effective renewable energy,” said O’Farrell.  “I want to thank Navajo President Jonathan Nez for the continued collaboration. It’s going to take everyone, everywhere to reduce energy consumption and these initial steps will help us work toward the shared goal of slowing climate change.”

Through the Department of Water and Power’s (DWP) ownership stake, the City utilized the site to generate power from coal for over 40 years. The City of Los Angeles has since divested from coal production, and expects to be completely free of coal-produced power by 2025.

“There are over 50,000 Native Americans living within the City of Los Angeles. Of those, a large majority are within the Navajo Nation,” said President Nez. “The Navajo Nation is 350,000 members, 27,000 square miles and we are here today to ask for the City Council’s support to enter into this partnership once again.”

The Council vote on Wednesday will officially start the process for DWP to report within 30 days on the feasibility of extending the partnership with the Navajo Nation to harvest solar, wind, and hydro energy on the site. The report will also address the impact of such technology on ratepayers in terms of cost and benefit. 

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