Fighting Dirty Coal in the Four Corners

Coal Plant Smokestacks

On July 31, 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency issued a PSD (Prevention of Significant Deterioration) permit for the Desert Rock Energy Facility in New Mexico's Four Corner's region. In response, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Attorney General Gary King announced their intention to immediately file an appeal of the U.S. EPA's ill-advised decision on issuing an air quality permit for coal-fired electric power plant planned for the Navajo Nation.

New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry states that the “EPA is shirking its responsibility to require an analysis of several pollutants, including mercury, ozone and carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas,” “This plant will increase the region’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than one third and wipe out our efforts to reduce these emissions across the state. The Four Corners area is already burdened with the high levels of mercury contamination and smog and this facility will only worsen those problems.”

Two nearby coal-fired power plants, San Juan Generating Station and Four Corners Power Plant already emit 28 million tons a year of carbon dioxide. Desert Rock will add another 10 million tons a year of carbon dioxide, making the four corners region a major contributor to global warming.

In short, coal is a dirty fuel and burning it releases greenhouse gasses, particulate pollution (smoke and smog), mercury and other heavy metals. The proposed Desert Rock plant would only add to the problem of air and water pollution in Northern New Mexico, one of the most beautiful landcapes in the United States.

Instead, why not build a concentrated solar thermal or wind power facility in the Four Corner's region? New Mexico must do better than continuing down the dead-end path of fossil fuel dependency.

More Info

EPA - Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Permit for the Desert Rock Energy Facility

NM - Governor and AG Announce Legal Challenge of Desert Rock Permit

S.Fe New Mexican - EPA verdict on Navajo Nation power plant permit looms

S.Fe New Mexican - Navajo Nation: We want smoke to stop

Wikipedia - Environmental Effects of Coal

EcoNewMexico - Navajo Coal Power Plant