New EPA rule co…

New EPA rule could shut down West’s biggest coal plant

Controversy is boiling over the West’s biggest coal-fired power plant,  located just south of the Utah-Arizona border near the shores of Lake Powell.

Owners of the Navajo Generating Station say an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to clear the air in the region’s national parks may push the plant into an unacceptable financial situation. They’ve indicated it could force a shutdown as early as 2017.

“The critical issue is the timing of it,” said George Hardeen, a spokesman for the plant. “If the EPA requires it to be done within a short period of time, it becomes economically non-viable.”

A shutdown of the plant would put nearly 1,000 people out of work on the Navajo Indian Reservation that is already deeply mired in unemployment and poverty.

Still, some Navajos support tougher pollution controls.

“I believe that they could eliminate a great amount of whatever it is that they are accused of releasing into the atmosphere,” said Navajo historian Wally Brown, who operates a tourist attraction called Navajo Village near the plant.

The plant provides power to Arizona, Nevada and California. It’s also the principal provider of electricity for the Central Arizona Project, which supplies water to the Phoenix area.

“It’s one of the most reliable sources of electricity in the Southwest,” Hardeen said.

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