by FELICITY BARRINGER
06 October 2010
Environmental Protection Agency signaled on Wednesday that it
would require a New Mexico power plant, one of the largest
coal-fired ones in the nation, to install $717 million in
pollution controls to curb emissions that spread haze over the
Four Corners region of the Southwest, home to national parks
like Mesa Verde.
The proposal to
install the equipment on the oldest three units of the massive
2,250-megawatt plant is likely to have a long-term effect on
both the territory and the economy of the Navajo Nation, which
covers an area three times the size of Vermont across Arizona,
New Mexico and Utah.
The Four Corners
Power Plant and the coal mine on the Navajo reservation that
supplies it with fuel employ more than 1,000 people, industry
officials who oppose the costly controls say.
No other power
plant in the country, the E.P.A. says, emits as high a level of
nitrogen oxide as the Four Corners one. Such particles
contribute to forming ozone and regional haze.
version of the proposed rule prompted Arizona Public Service,
the state’s major utility, to suggest that it might have to
close the three units affected by the rule if they could not be
run at a profit.
the E.P.A. announcement, a spokesman for the company did not go
that far on Wednesday. “Once we have an opportunity to
thoroughly review and consider the proposal, we will evaluate
the various scenarios,” the spokesman, Jim McDonald, said.
welcomed the proposed requirements. “The people living in
Farmington and Shiprock have some of the worst pollution in the
United States — the ozone levels are as bad as Phoenix and Los
Angeles,” said Roger Clark, who directs the air and energy
programs of the nonprofit Grand Canyon Trust. .
“I’m pleased to
see that E.P.A. has followed through in what we think is the
right interpretation of the Clean Air Act,” he said
The act requires
the air around areas like national parks to be as clean as
This article has
been revised to reflect the following correction:
October 8, 2010
An article on
Thursday about a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency
to require the installation of costly air pollution controls at
the Four Corners Power Plant, which is fired by coal,
misidentified the state in which it is located. It is on Navajo
territory in New Mexico, not in Arizona.