Just last year, the plant added controls that removed 40 percent of the nitrogen oxide.
The new EPA proposals are expected to require even deeper reductions in nitrogen oxide and particulates, possibly by 2017. Thus the dilemma for the owners: the cleanup deadline might arrive before the Navajo lease issue is decided.
With so many jobs at stake, would the Navajo Nation seriously consider not renewing the lease?
Brown, for one, thinks the original agreements didn't sufficiently compensate the Navajos for their air, water and coal. He doesn't advocate a shutdown of the plant but believes others could step in to run it.
"There are other companies that would be right there to take over," Brown said. "And we might be able to have a better agreement and better relations with them."
The battle is expected to heat up in the next few months. A final decision on whether to shut down the plant probably won't come for about a year and a half.
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