Today, 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.
Today’s action follows EPA’s initial October proposal 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.
“The new proposal controls emissions better, while costing less and preserving jobs,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This plant is the nation’s largest source of nitrogen oxides. By reducing its emissions by 87% - rather than our initial proposal of 80% - we will all be able to see the results and breathe cleaner, healthier air.”
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.
Today’s proposal would reduce visibility impact from Four Corners Power Plant by an average 72% at the national parks and wilderness areas. Every year over 280 million people visit our nation’s most treasured parks and wilderness areas. Yet, many visitors aren’t 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.
EPA is requesting comment on today’s proposal in addition to the October 2010 proposal by May 2, 2011. Members of the public in the Four Corners area will have four opportunities to attend open houses and public hearings during the week of March 28, 2011. For additional information on the proposed rulemaking and opportunities to provide input, please go to: http://www.epa.gov/region9/air/navajo/