Guest Column: NTUA responds to claim of NTUA failure to get community consent

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The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority would like to respond to the column written by Jessica Keetso, a member of the To’Nizhoni’Ani organization, and published in the July 8, 2021, Navajo Times.

We thank Keetso for providing comments, but we believe it is necessary to respond and clarify some of her points.

Keetso indicated she was listening to the May 6, 2021, online community forum NTUA hosted with the Cameron community to provide information regarding the proposed Cameron Solar Facility. We, the undersigned, represented NTUA during that forum.

In her column, Keetso erroneously claims that, “based on the community forum in Cameron, it seems NTUA forgot to checkmark ‘community engagement’ off their checklist.” This statement is untrue.

From the beginning of this project, NTUA has followed Navajo Nation procedures for community consent. The Cameron Solar Project was presented before the Community Land Use Planning Committee, then to a planning meeting and onto a chapter meeting whereby a resolution was passed on July 11, 2018, supporting the development, construction and operation of a solar generation plant in the Cameron chapter community (Cameron Chapter resolution).

At the time, NTUA advised the chapter that follow-up information would be provided after the land use/clearance approval phase. Following the passage of the Cameron Chapter resolution, the project required rights of way and other mandatory prerequisites, such as environmental clearance. Sharing with community

NTUA shared with the community that this is a lengthy process and an update on the project would be provided after those preconditions were completed, including land lease […]

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