Back in the 1960s and ’70s when many coal-burning power plants in the Southwest were built, coal was one of a limited number of options available for power generation.
That is no longer true. So why are we seeing so many industry and political leaders today behaving as if it were?
Consider the Navajo Generating Station coal plant near Page that sends electricity to Phoenix, Tucson, Nevada and California, but not to much-nearer Navajo communities.
Besides electricity, the plant generates pollution — literally tons. In addition to contaminants like mercury and lead, the smokestacks spew 25,000 tons of nitrogen oxide a year. That, in turn, produces fine-particle pollution that gets deep into people’s lungs and can cause heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks and lung cancer.
Everyone wants healthier air, and the Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to decide soon on updated pollution controls that the aging Navajo Generating Station needs to install to cut a lot more of its dangerous emissions.