Group marches in support of keeping Navajo coal plant open

(Ross D. Franklin | The Associated Press) This Sept. 4, 2011 file photo shows the main plant facility at the Navajo Generating Station, as seen from Lake Powell in Page, Ariz. The plant's operator says it and other owners are considering options that include keeping it open but also shutting down the massive coal-fired power plant in northern Arizona within a few years. Salt River Project spokesman Scott Harelson says SRP officials recently met with Navajo Nation officials to discuss the plant located on the Navajo reservation near Page.

Phoenix • A coalition of groups is marching to the state Capitol on Tuesday to support extending the life of a coal-fired power plant near the Arizona-Utah border.

The Navajo Generating Station in Page is set to close at the end of 2019 unless a new owner can be found. It's considered a long-shot, but the company that owns the supply mine is trying.

The power plant is a major revenue source for the Navajo and Hopi tribes. The electricity generated there also powers a series of canals that deliver water to metropolitan Phoenix and Tucson.

The Salt River Project operates the plant and announced last year it would close it because power from natural gas is cheaper.

The groups say that would devastate Navajo and Hopi families in areas of high unemployment.