The Western Clean Energy Coalition is fighting several pending proposals to build new coal-fired power plants on or near the Colorado Plateau.
These plants could be significantly cleaner than those built in the past. However, they will still contribute to impaired visibility, high ozone levels, and increased mercury in streams and lakes. They will also consume large quantities of water, adversely affect human health, and promote global warming via CO2 and other contributors.
The Trust opposes the construction of new coal-fired power plants on the Colorado Plateau because of their environmental impacts. To further the goal of stopping their construction — or to ensure that, if built, they are as clean as technologically feasible — we serve on the steering committee and participate in the Western Clean Energy Coalition (WCEC), which is housed at Western Resource Advocates, based in Boulder, Colorado.
Appealing the EPA’s decision to permit the proposed Desert Rock facility
In April 2003, the Sithe Power Company announced it was planning to build a 1,500-megawatt power plant on the Navajo reservation near Farmington, New Mexico. The plant would be located within a few miles of the Four Corners and San Juan power plants, two of the Southwest’s largest sources of air pollution. Sithe filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA over its failure to issue a final air permit in a timely manner. To settle the suit, the EPA issued a final air permit for the Desert Rock facility on July 31, 2008. On October 2, the State of New Mexico filed an appeal against the EPA’s decision to grant the permit for the plant, arguing that it was issued before the completion of a required consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service thus violating the Endangered Species Act. The Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity, and Sierra Club have joined San Juan Citizens Alliance and Dine CARE in filing similar petitions against the permit to the EPA Environmental Appeals Board.
Ensuring that the proposed Cemex plant does not impair Grand Canyon air quality
Cemex, the world’s largest cement manufacturer, is planning to build “Seligman Crossing” — a large cement plant and quarry limestone — on 1,000 acres of land located in Yavapai county between Seligman and Peach Springs, 50 miles south of Grand Canyon. Buildout will span the next 50 years. In the summer of 2008, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality postponed processing Cemex’s permit application until it obtains 1 year of meteorological data needed to model its emission impacts on Grand Canyon visibility. The Grand Canyon Trust is working closely with National Park Service in monitoring and evaluating the permit process and coordinating communication among individuals, interest groups, and tribal representatives.