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Groups seek 'just transition' after Mohave closure

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Utility to reinvest pollution credit windfall in local jobs, clean

SAN FRANCISCO -- A motion filed Jan. 11 by the "Just Transition Coalition"
with the California Public Utilities Commission stated that "Southern
California Edison's unilateral decision to close Mohave Generating Station
on Dec. 31 requires the commission to immediately grant a motion to set
aside funds to address economic consequences of the closure on Hopi and
Navajo people."

In what would be a first for the state and the nation, the coalition is
asking the commission to ensure that the utility make up for a history of
pollution violations by reinvesting any profits from the sale of pollution
credits into clean, renewable energy projects to serve the region's energy
needs and create local jobs.

Navajo and Hopi people stand to lose nearly $20 million in royalties from
the sale of coal from Black Mesa Mine, which supplies the 1,585-megawatt
plant in Laughlin, Nev. Mohave Generating Station has generated inexpensive
electricity for California ratepayers since 1971. The mine is Mohave's sole
source of coal, and 200 -- mostly Navajo -- workers will lose their jobs as
the result of SCE's decision to close the plant.

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The motion, filed with the CPUC, seeks funding from SCE's sale of
approximately $40 million per year in pollution credits. The transaction
between utilities is allowed under acid rain provisions of the Clean Air

"It's wrong to allow SCE to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in new,
unearned revenues from the sale of sulfur allowances. SCE has not invested
one cent in pollution controls or paid a penny in fines for its many years
of polluting our region. The Just Transition plan will redistribute money
from the sale of sulfur allowances to Navajo and Hopi people in return for
economic losses that we will suffer. Millions of people have benefited from
Mohave; now it's our turn," said Leonard Selestewa.

"The Black Mesa Just Transition plan is in the best interest of everyone
involved: it would provide sustainable economic development for the Hopi
and Navajo people as well as a clean source of renewable energy for
California rate payers," said Enei Begaye of the Indigenous Environmental
Network. She added, "The Just Transition plan provides economic restitution
for Navajo and Hopi people based on a tariff charge that is directly tied
to the plant's closure. Our motion is designed to help Navajo and Hopi
communities become equity owners in producing new sources of cleaner
energy. It will allow us to reduce unemployment and help promote a just
transition to sustainable economic development."