Akin Gump Advises Gila River Indian Community in Historic Water Settlement

(Washington, D.C.) – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP advised the Gila River Indian Community in a historic settlement announced today among numerous diverse parties, including the United States, that will keep the federal share of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) operating until at least 2044, helping to maintain the water settlement benefits of all tribes in Arizona with Central Arizona Project (CAP) water rights as part of their settlements.

The agreement balances the various interests of the numerous stakeholders involved in the NGS and includes major commitments by the United States to a path forward for lower emissions from NGS, progress toward renewable energy developments for Arizona tribes and others, and greater support for those tribes with CAP contracts.

The agreement covers four principal points:

  • The agreement provides sufficient certainty to the future operation of NGS that it will likely now stay open until 2044, particularly the federal portion on which CAP tribes rely for their CAP water subsidies.
  • The agreement, which also has to be adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), would also result in the required environmental measures being delayed in their installation until at least 2030.
  • The United States explicitly recognizes its responsibility to offset some of the costs of the environmental measures—not just Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) but Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) as well—by agreeing to put no less than $100 million into the Lower Colorado Basin Fund.
  • To provide a transition for CAP tribes away from their reliance on NGS in the future for their subsidies, in this agreement, the United States agreed to work with tribes to support and further renewable energy projects for the tribes to gradually replace NGS as the source of their CAP water subsidies.

 

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 850 attorneys in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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