Navajo Nation Partners With Lab for Natural Resource Development


The Navajo Nation is teaming up with a national laboratory to examine which technologies are most effective in developing natural resources on the reservation.

On February 1, the tribe signed a three-year agreement with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to study carbon capture and sequestration, clean coal technology and renewable energy, among other things, reported the Associated Press.

The reservation is home to large deposits of coal and uranium. Despite the Four Corners region's strong potential for wind and solar energy, the tribe hasn't historically pursued these types of green energy.

The tribe is currently adjusting its energy policy and deciding whether to adopt renewable energy standards. The agreement opens doors for the tribe and the laboratory to look into power plant design and sites, as well as combustion and geothermal technologies and energy security. The tribe's general fund has long relied on revenue from coal mining, oil and gas and lease payments.

"With the lab's help, we will have a better picture of what technologies are best for our resources and nation," Navajo President Ben Shelly said in a prepared speech. "This assistance will carry us for many generations and position our nation to compete with the rest of the world."

Despite the tribe's controversial history with uranium mining, Shelly said the Nation's energy policy gives the tribe the opportunity to determine whether extracting ore might be viable in the future with proper technology and techniques, given optimal market conditions.