PHOENIX — Tribal grassroots groups say the Arizona Corporation Commission has approved a smaller amount recommended for tribal and rural communities to transition away from coal economies.

The commission is meeting this week as part of a proceeding for a rate increase request from Arizona Public Service Co.

As part of its rate package, APS reportedly had proposed providing the Navajo Nation with close to $150 million in financial assistance, with additional funding earmarked for the Hopi Tribe and Navajo County communities. The communities have relied heavily on revenue from coal-fired power plants and coal mines that have been shutting down.

Navajo grassroots groups said the judge overseeing the proceedings had recommended a minimum payment of $50 million to the Navajo Nation, nearly $1.7 million to the Hopi Tribe and $5 million to Navajo County communities.

But the groups say the commission voted 3-2 Tuesday to reduce the amounts to $10 million to the Navajo Nation over three years, $1 million to the Hopi Tribe and $500,000 to the Navajo County communities.

“It’s disheartening to know there’s a proposal on the table that would provide real support for Navajo and Hopi communities and to be given such token amounts,” said Carol Davis, director of the Navajo grassroots organization Diné C.A.R.E.

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