From: Andy Soos, ENN
Published February 14, 2011 12:19 PM

Arizona Haze and NOx

Four Corners Power Plant is one of the largest coal-fired generating stations in the United States. The plant is located on Navajo land in Fruitland, New Mexico, about 25 miles west of Farmington. It is located to the west of the Grand Canyon and many other national parks. It was the first mine-mouth generation station to take advantage of the large deposits of sub-bituminous coal in the Four Corners region. The plant’s five units currently generate 2,040 megawatts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a supplemental proposal to reduce emissions from the Four Corners Power Plant. The new proposal will reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from approximately 45,000 tons per year to 5,800 tons per year, 3,200 tons less than EPA’s initial proposal. The proposal will also work to protect public health in the area by ensuring residents have cleaner air with fewer harmful pollutants. It will also reduce atmospheric haze and promote viability.

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There had been an earlier proposal from EPA to require pollution controls at the Four Corners Power Plant. In response to that proposal, Arizona Public Service put forward an alternative requiring plant operators to install Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) on two of the five coal-fired boilers and shut down the three older ones. SCR is the most stringent pollution control technology available for this type of facility.

Four Corners Power Plant and the Navajo Mine which supplies its coal, employ roughly 1000 people, 75% of whom are Native American. Both facilities have pledged “No Layoffs” if Units 1-3 are closed.

Coal-fired power plant emissions from northwest New Mexico have affected Mesa Verde National Park and other parks
and monuments in the Four Corners region, according to state and federal environmental officials. The power plants are important economically to the Navajo Nation, where poverty levels are high.

The new EPA proposal would reduce visibility impact from Four Corners Power Plant by an average 72% at the nearby national parks and wilderness areas. Every year over 280 million people visit our nation’s parks and wilderness areas in this vicinity. Many visitors are not able to see the spectacular vistas because of the veil of white or brown haze that hangs in the air, reducing visibility and dulling the natural beauty.

For further information: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/B96018E71B328FAD85257834005CC08E

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