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Sun, Feb. 23

Navajo Generating Station releases new DVD, 'The Faces of NGS'

LECHEE, Ariz. - Navajo Generating Station (NGS) has released a new DVD that explains its history and role in energy production, as well as featuring several Navajo employees and the jobs they do.

"The Faces of NGS" is a 12-minute video that introduces viewers to the power plant, the plant's operations, and the people who work there. The DVD was produced in Navajo and English versions.

"This DVD will answer a lot of people's questions," said NGS Plant Manager Robert Talbot. "We're pleased with the way it turned out. It's very watchable and I'm sure people will enjoy it."

"The Faces of NGS" explains that NGS was built as a compromise with environmental groups in order to prevent new hydroelectric dams from being built in the Grand Canyon.

For a period beginning in the 1950s, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation proposed building the Marble Canyon and Bridge Canyon dams to provide electricity for the Central Arizona Project.

The proposed Bridge Canyon Dam on the Colorado River at the lower end of the Grand Canyon would have created a 90-mile reservoir and flooded 13 miles inside Grand Canyon National Park.

Instead, NGS was proposed to prevent the inundation of the Grand Canyon, provide critically needed employment to the Navajo people, and develop the Navajo Nation's coal resources on Black Mesa to provide revenue to the tribal government.

NGS' three units began producing electricity in 1974, 1975 and 1976.

The DVD explains how electricity is made when coal is ground into a fine powder and blown into big burners. There, heat causes water in a huge boiler to get so hot, it turns into superheated steam.

That steam is then sent through high-pressure tubes to a turbine forcing the turbine blades to spin. The turbine is connected to a generator, and the force of the steam causes the generator to rotate and produce electricity.

The DVD also explains how NGS' commitment to environmental protection goes back to its first day of operation.

In the 1970s, NGS was built to remove 99.5 percent of particulate matter from its emissions. In 1999, NGS dedicated the installation of "scrubbers" which remove 95 percent of the sulfur dioxide from NGS' emissions. In 2011, NGS completed the installation of low-NOx burners, which remove 40 percent of the nitrogen oxide from its emissions.

The program also highlights NGS' long record of safety in the workplace.

"The most important thing that people should know about this power plant is that safety and cleanliness are highly rated," said Nicole Kee, an NGS control room operations specialist who appears in the DVD. "Everything is about safety. Safety comes first - always. And you can feel it in the work environment."

The DVD explains that because NGS is on the Navajo Nation, it diligently implements Navajo preference in employment. Today, 83 percent of its 545 employees are Native American.

"I think the great thing about NGS is that the workforce employment here is dominantly Navajo," said NGS Chemist Ann Sloan. "A lot of the people here, they still speak Navajo. And so it allows me to try and pick up and learn a little bit more about the Navajo language."

Operations and Maintenance Supervisor Travis Francisco said being able to work at NGS has allowed him and his family to remain close to their Navajo culture and heritage.

"We don't live too far away from the rest of our extended family," he said. "My mom still lives in Holbrook, my grandma still lives in Klagetoh, just a few hours away."

To receive a copy of "The Faces of NGS," contact Regina Lane at or call (928) 645-6265.

A preview of the DVD can be viewed online at

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