Catalyst led stakeholder engagement as part of a US Economic Development Administration (US EDA) grant‐funded project to develop strategies for transitioning this region away from being a coal‐dependent economy. With 3 major coal‐fired power plants and mining operations in the area, northwest
New Mexico’s economy has centered on coal, but demand for this resource is falling and permitted operations for coal mining will end in the coming decade. The area’s leaders recognized the need to plan for a post‐coal economy, in advance of the shut-down of the mines and power plants. Catalyst moderated the discussion of 6 focus groups made up from over 100 local business leaders, government officials, and Navajo representatives. The goal of the discussions was to evaluate the role of coal in the local economy (past, present, and future), identify other economic assets in the area, and develop economic strategies to bolster economic development in the region of the next 5, 10, and 20 years.