Category Archives: Peabody Coal Company

10/10/2011 Frontiers, the Changing America Desk: Coal Remains King On Navajo Nation…For Now

10/10/2011 Frontiers, the Changing America Desk: Coal Remains King On Navajo Nation…For Now By Laurel Morales: FLAGSTAFF — The last of the world’s largest coal-slurry plants will literally implode next month. The Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin, Nevada closed in 2005 after a series of conflicts with environmentalists and the Navajo Nation over pollution and water use. Explosives will be strategically placed around the steel-framed boiler towers so it will collapse and crumble into dust. And other coal-fired power plants in the region may soon face a similar fate. That puts hundreds of jobs for the Navajo and Hopi tribes in jeopardy.

Navajo Generating Station’s three stacks – each 775 feet tall – are visible from several miles away. This plant was built about the same time as the Mohave, and unlike the decommissioned Mohave plant, has kept on top of pollution control mandates. So it’s still operating, sitting adjacent to Antelope Canyon, one of the most photographed slot canyons in the southwest; and just a couple miles from Lake Powell.

Enough coal is pulverized to power 3 million people in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and beyond. Yet the floor barely vibrates.

In the control room, Julius Fat sits in front of several computer screens and buttons. He points out the two buttons that when pushed together shut down the entire plant.

“You can’t lose your cool in here,” Fat said. “You got to keep it together.”

Fat is one of many Navajos who work for the plant and send money back to their families.

“From my side of the family we have livestock; I have to buy hay for my mom,” Fat said. “There’s a lot of ways people benefit from it. Jobs are hard to find on the reservation.”

In fact, the unemployment rate on the Navajo Nation is almost 50 percent. Coal mines and coal-fired power plants provide about 1,500 jobs and more than a third of the tribe’s annual operating budget. Not to mention scholarships and royalty checks.

But many are worried the plants could shut down.

Environmentalists have targeted coal energy in the region with lawsuits, claiming poor air pollution controls contribute to the haze at Grand Canyon and beyond.

And the EPA is expected to come out with new clean up mandates in coming months – mandates that could cost as much as a billion dollars to upgrade each of the three plants on or near the reservation.

George Hardeen worked for former Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr., and now consults with the Navajo Generating Station.

“When Navajos leave the Navajo Nation they take with them their language, their culture and their way of life,” Hardeen said. “If there are no jobs on the Navajo Nation, they don’t return. The Navajo Generating Station has served as an economic anchor for almost 40 years.”

With coal jobs threatened, the tribe is looking for alternatives. And their geography could be an asset.

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Manager Walter Haase just signed an agreement with Edison Mission and the Salt River Project to build a large scale wind farm on a ranch owned by the tribe west of Flagstaff.

“This type of project is a paradigm shift for the Native American community,” Haase said.

This is the first renewable project that is majority owned by a tribe. It would create about 350 temporary jobs during construction, but only 10 permanent jobs.

While Haase would like to see the tribe offset its economic dependence on coal, he says it’s not practical to say renewable energy will replace coal.

“So if you were to switch from one to the other, which isn’t physically possible, you’re going from 1,500 jobs down to 150 jobs,” Haase said. “That’s a losing equation for anybody.”

Many renewable energy developers have tried and failed to get projects started on the reservation.

Navajo community developer Brett Isaac is trying to bring commercial solar projects and green jobs to his home town of Shonto. But he said he has to tread carefully. He has many relatives who work in the coal industry.

“If they were to close tomorrow, we would be in a whole mess of trouble,” Isaac said. “We’re to some degree supportive of them continuing operation. The regulations are going to catch up with them and we need to start planning ahead and thinking about the long term.”

Isaac is willing to forge a compromise and move slowly toward a better solution. In the meantime, legislators have asked the EPA to give the Navajo Generating Station another 15 years without additional upgrades. This would buy some time for a more diverse and clean industry to develop on the reservation.

More like this story

Chevron Agrees To Uranium Clean Up On Navajo Nation
Navajo & Hopi Tribes Reconcile To Send A Voice To Washington
Large Uranium Mine On Navajo Nation To Be Cleaned
Sensing Change: Census Shows A Declining Navajo Nation
Navajo Nation Hopes To Boost Water Supplies With Settlement

Vote for Forgotten People Environmental Justice Participatory Mapping

Vote for Forgotten People Environmental Justice Participatory Mapping: About the submission: The online map developed in this project uses data from the EPA 2007 Abandon Uranium Mines and the Navajo Nation: Atlas with Geospatial Data to give citizens access to basic information on unregulated water sources and abandoned uranium mine features. The map also provides citizens with the basic tools to visulize the spatial elements of potential environmental hazards.

Environmental Justice is a relatively new field for environmental advocacy. One the many attributes that is illustrative of environmental injustice is proximity to pollution. Developments in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the gathering of spatial data have furthered the implications of environmental justice. The GIS technical expertise is not always available to grassroots organizations and thus the spatial nexus is sometimes missing in the struggle for justice. This project was designed to assist the Navajo grassroots organization The Forgotten People in both policy development and participatory mapping.

9/24/2011 Gallup Independent: Forum to focus on Navajo-Hopi coal, water issues

9/24/2011 Gallup Independent: Forum to focus on Navajo-Hopi coal, water issues By Kathy Helms, Dine Bureau: WINDOW ROCK – The people of the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe are at a crossroads, according to former Hopi Tribal Chairman Ben Nuvamsa. The dilemma hinges on whether to continue accepting pennies on the dollar for their resources from outside entities, or take the bull by the horns and create “economic sovereignty” for themselves.

A public forum sponsored by the Inter-Tribal COALition to address tribal water, coal, environmental, cultural and economic issues affecting the tribes will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 30 on the sixth floor of the Native American Community Building, 4520 N. Central Ave., Phoenix.

Presenters include Daniel Higgins, Ph.D., Sean Gnant of the Brewer Law Firm, Milton Bluehouse Sr., and Nuvamsa. Navajo Nation Council delegates, Hopi Tribal Council members, and interested members of both tribes are asked to attend the forum to learn more about their common issues.

“We believe that we are at the crossroads. Many of these entities are after our water and our coal. We kind of stand, so to speak, at the headwaters of all these resources,” Nuvamsa said.

Coal from the tribes is used to generate electricity so the people in southern Arizona, southern California and Nevada will have electricity in their homes. The massive Central Arizona Project depends on power from Navajo Generating Station so the federal government can deliver surface water to tribes and municipalities in southern Arizona, he said.

“The sad part is that these entities that are using these resources to provide these services to the people and generate profits are not paying us at the fair market value for our water and our coal,” while the tribal councils are prematurely agreeing to settlements without properly informing their people, he said.

“For example, the lease reopener that’s before the Hopi Council – there ought to be increased royalties. Instead of one-time bonuses, there ought to be annual bonuses. There ought to be higher scholarships – $85,000 (for Hopi) is nothing.”

In addition, provisions in the proposed Northeastern Arizona Indian Water Rights Settlement could hold Peabody Energy and others harmless for all past, present and future damages to the water quality. “I think these are the kinds of things that people need to know, that our tribal councils are agreeing to these things,” he said, adding that the companies should be held accountable for damages and the federal government should be held accountable for not enforcing the rules.

“Both nations ought to be able to say, ‘OK, we have this precious resource, we’re going to take all bidders,’ and be able to go out and compete for higher prices, not have it handed to Peabody Coal. We ought to be able to make those decisions ourselves. I call that economic sovereignty,” Nuvamsa said.

During last week’s meeting with U.S. Department of the Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary David Hayes on the proposed water rights settlement – which many have linked to the future survival of NGS and the Central Arizona Project – Shiprock Delegate Russell Begaye said a change of policy may be in order in terms of the use of Navajo resources by outside entities such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson and Los Angeles.

Begaye said Navajo historically has focused on “outsourcing” its minerals and water resources rather than looking inward to see how they can be used to benefit the Navajo people. He proposed that Navajo look at developing local community-based generating plants which produce up to 10 megawatts of electricity.

“The town of Shiprock where I’m the delegate – about 18,000 folks – we can probably use 2 to 3 megawatts to run the whole community, and the rest we could outsource and sell to outside entities or other communities on our land, using a combination of coal, wind and solar.”

Rather than building mega-plants to power up electricity in other places, if a company said, “’We want to come alongside you and develop those resources to light up your communities on the reservation, to give water to homes on your land, and be able to do it in such a way that these communities can start selling these sources to outside entities,’ then we’re really talking about a trust responsibility that builds the Nation first,” Begaye said.

“I think the focus needs to turn from Phoenix to the Navajo Nation, from Los Angeles to the Navajo Nation. That policy change, if it takes place, will resolve a lot of our issues. We are sitting on gold mines, but those gold mines are being used by outside entities.”

Navajos travel to major cities across the West and “dream about the days when we may have those stores and those manufacturing plants,” Begaye said, all the while knowing it is Navajo resources which made those developments possible. “Why not let’s turn that inward? Let’s change the policy of outsourcing, to using those resources to build a nation.” He asked Interior to help Navajo in that endeavor.

After Interior officials left, the work session turned from water to NGS and despite efforts by Duane Tsinigine and Nelson Begaye to keep the session open to the public, Nabiki’yati’ Committee voted to go into executive session.

Adella Begaye of Wheatfields, a member of Dine CARE, said, “This is very sad because there is no accountability, there is no transparency. All these decisions are made without our consent, without our concern. We have been concerned about the water settlement because 36,000 acre feet is not enough for our Nation, and they are now even trying to settle for $400 million – which is nothing.”

She said it was wrong for Navajo and Interior officials to try to push through the settlement by saying there is just a small window of opportunity because Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., will retire next year and chances for a settlement after that are not likely. “Kyl is for Phoenix to get all the water they can. They’re not for the Navajo Nation.”

Tsinigine left the meeting when it went to executive session. “It’s only fair that all delegates are here to hear these issues, and some of these issues, in general, should be made public. In LeChee, Coppermine and Kaibeto, the majority of the men and women work at Navajo Generating Station and they want to be updated and make sure that the people hear what is at the negotiating table,” he said afterward.

“We’re leaving 75 percent of the Council out of it,” because they were given abrupt notice of the meeting and many had prior commitments, he said. “That’s not fair.”

Marshall Johnson of To Nizhoni Ani, or Beautiful Water Speaks, said the Interior’s visit to discuss their water rights was “like you see on television – a drive-by” that took in the president’s office, Legislative and the Hopi Tribe, but the people, “the original stakeholders,” were left out.

The state of Arizona is the beneficiary of any proposed settlement, he said. During a May hearing in Washington, Shelly and Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa stressed the importance of NGS to the tribes. Johnson, who testified along with Black Mesa Trust Director Vernon Masayesva, opposed extending the lease.

“We told Central Arizona Project it’s about time they get self-sufficient. We’ve been feeding them. They have a $3.5 billion operation in industrial agriculture. We made it available for them. Navajo resources made it possible to push water 3,000 feet elevation uphill. They plant three times a year,” he said. “We have no net benefit from this operation.”

Information: http://beyondthemesas.com/2011/09/21/a-forum-to-address-tribal-water-coal-environment-cultural-and-economic-issues-affecting-hopi-tribe-navajo-nation-phoenix-az-sept-30-2011/

Vote for Western Washington University-Forgotten People Environmental Justice Participatory Mapping

Environmental Justice Participatory Mapping Vote for Western Washington University Forgotten People mapping Project About the submission: The online map developed in this project uses data from the EPA 2007 Abandon Uranium Mines and the Navajo Nation: Atlas with Geospatial Data to give citizens access to basic information on unregulated water sources and abandoned uranium mine features. The map also provides citizens with the basic tools to visulize the spatial elements of potential environmental hazards.

Environmental Justice is a relatively new field for environmental advocacy. One the many attributes that is illustrative of environmental injustice is proximity to pollution. Developments in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the gathering of spatial data have furthered the implications of environmental justice. The GIS technical expertise is not always available to grassroots organizations and thus the spatial nexus is sometimes missing in the struggle for justice. This project was designed to assist the Navajo grassroots organization The Forgotten People in both policy development and participatory mapping.

9/16/2011 Navajo Generating Station blamed for haze over Grand Canyon, respiratory illnesses But Native American activists say new study ignores health impacts

9/16/2011 Colorado Independent: Navajo Generating Station blamed for haze over Grand Canyon, respiratory illnesses But Native American activists say new study ignores health impacts: By David O. Williams: Residents of the Navajo and Hopi reservations in the Four Corners region are dismayed that a study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) on the 2,250-megawatt Navajo Generating Station near Page, Ariz., “clearly omits consideration of the coal-burning plant’s pollution impacts on public health.” During public meetings in Phoenix the last two days, activist groups have been rallying support for looming U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clean-air regulations that would compel the plant to install the best retrofit technology available to scrub nitrogen oxide emissions from its smokestack. Besides respiratory problems for area residents, critics blame the 42-year-old power plant for haze over Grand Canyon National Park.

Last month the EPA ordered major pollution controls within five years at San Juan Generating Station 15 miles west of Farmington, N.M., ordering the facility to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent. Colorado lawmakers were seeking to avoid similar federal regulations when they approved the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act that requires the conversion of aging coal-fired power plants on the Front Range to natural gas or renewable energy.

Conservation groups say the Department of Interior — whose Bureau of Reclamation owns the largest chunk of the Navajo power plant – is pressuring EPA to delay its ruling until the Golden, Colo.-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) can complete the first phase of an overall study on operations at the Navajo Generating Station. The plant, collectively owned by the Salt River Project, provides electricity in Arizona, Nevada and California and also supplies power to pump water through the Central Arizona Project.

“The pollution, health, and water impacts of Navajo Generating Station are huge costs — human and financial and environmental,” said Nikke Alex, a member of the Navajo Nation. “The fact that they’re ignored in the Department of Interior’s study is glaring and should be alarming for everyone in our region. Since the Department of Interior owns so much of this plant, there’s concern they may be using their influence to avoid an accounting of the true costs of keeping it running.”

As many as 18,000 homes on the Navajo Nation are completely off the grid despite the presence of nearby coal-fired power plants, which local health officials blame for a wide range of respiratory problems. But Republican lawmakers from Arizona have been actively trying to thwart the EPA push for cleaner air in the region, holding hearings and targeting various congressional committees.

U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar and Trent Franks sent a letter to the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power and the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs arguing the EPA regulations could cost jobs and endanger the state’s power and water supply. They blasted what they deemed “burdensome regulations that threaten the viability of the plant.”

“The plant and associated mine provides nearly 1,000 jobs in northern Arizona, is critical to the livelihood of the Pinal County and Native American agricultural community, and is essential to supplying water to 80 percent of the state’s population,” Gosar said. “We must carefully examine regulations that could threaten the state of Arizona’s water and power supply.”

Navajo and Hopi activists counter that they’ve suffered greatly from increased asthma and other respiratory problems traced to the plant. They also pointed to a study by the American Lung Association that found the Phoenix metro area is “one of the 25 worst of 277 U.S. metro areas for ozone pollution and is the second worst area in the nation for year-round exposure to fine particle pollution.”

Still, Navajo plant operators have reportedly indicated they might have to shutter the facility if the EPA requires the retrofits, which critics claim could unnecessarily cost more than $1 billion.

COMMENTS:

Poisoning people and the environment including the waters and the fish that swim there is not a fair trade off for a thousand jobs and cheap electricity.

I remember coming over Wolf Creek pass one evening some 30-35 years ago marveling at the spectacular technicolor sunset, only to be dismayed by my companions explanation that the colors were due to the refraction of light through the same pollution as the nightly smog in Denver,Phoenix,L.A.etc.The source of that was the Page plant which incidentally was readily identifiable from space by Apollo astronauts because it was so immense and isolated.

The notion that this plant will close before adapting to more stringent EPA regulations is ludicrous-just more of the corporate right’s scare tactics designed to intimidate low information voters.The manufacture ,installation ,and maintenance of high tech scrubbers will not only protect our health and environment ,but obviously create MORE jobs-as compliance with most regulations do.The insatiable greed of corporate utility operators [who already have all the advantages of a complete monopoly of an essential service,largely subsidized by taxpayers] is the only interest that does not benefit from these changes.

Not all Navajo or Hopi are dismayed. Some of us are actually elated with the idea of stopping haze and any related health issue that it may caused. Your wording is rather affront.

9/19/2011 Gallup Independent: Peabody seeks permit renewal for Kayenta Mine

9/19/2011 Gallup Independent: Peabody seeks permit renewal for Kayenta Mine By Kathy Helms, Dine Bureau: WINDOW ROCK – Peabody Western Coal Co. has filed an application with the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to renew its permit for mining operations at Kayenta Mine through July 5, 2015. Peabody submitted an application to OSM to renew the permit in February 2010, and proposes to continue mining in coal resource areas N-9, J-19, and J-21 from July 6, 2010, through July 5, 2015. The proposed permit renewal does not include any revisions to the mining and operations plan or the addition of any new mining areas.

“The Kayenta Mine is moving through a routine five-year permit renewal process covering the mine plan, land restoration plan and other activities related to ongoing operations, which is consistent with current operations,” Beth Sutton, director of Corporate Communications for Peabody Energy, said.

OSM has prepared an environmental assessment to evaluate environmental effects from the permit renewal. Comments must be submitted by Oct. 22 to be considered.

The Kayenta Mine permit area is located on approximately 44,073 acres of land leased from the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe. Peabody holds leases to mine up to 670 million tons of coal from reserves within the permit area. As of July 2010, 20,851 acres within the permit area had been disturbed.

Mining activities within the lease area would result in a moderate, short-term impact, according to OSM and would disturb 1,159 acres of land used for grazing and traditional land uses. However, the federal agency said reclamation of the disturbed areas would improve the productivity and quality of grazing lands.

“The mine has a record of good environmental compliance, and typically returns mined lands to a condition that is as much as 20 times more productive for rangeland than native areas,” Sutton said.

Within the J-21 coal resource area, four of the 83 occupied houses within the Kayenta Mine permit area would be relocated. Residents would be compensated for the replacement of all structures and for lost grazing acreage if they can establish a customary use area claim.

According to the Finding of No Significant Impact, Peabody has committed to replace three windmill wells that have or would be removed by mining. Any other water supply that could be adversely impacted by mining during the five-year permit term would be replaced.

Annual groundwater use for domestic and mine-related purposes from the Navajo aquifer would average 1,236 acre-feet per year, or 70 percent less than was used prior to 2006 when the coal slurry pipeline was operating.

Water quantity use impacts to the N-aquifer are expected to be negligible to minor, and no endangered or threatened species are expected to be directly affected because there is no predicted decrease of flows in seeps and springs associated with the N-aquifer, OSM said. Pumping has been primarily occurring within the confined part of the N-aquifer, and the agency said water levels are rising or are predicted to rise because less groundwater is being used since the coal slurry pipeline was discontinued.

The number of people employed at the Kayenta Mine will increase from 422 in 2010 to 432 in 2015. The average annual revenue paid to the tribes from 2005-2009 was $43.2 million, plus an additional average annual payment of $6.2 million to Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and scholarship funds, according to OSM. These revenues are expected to continue.

“Kayenta Mine is a powerful economic force in the region creating 400 jobs and nearly $370 million in direct and indirect economic benefits for regional communities,” Sutton said. “We look forward to an efficient and timely review as part of the customary stakeholder process.”

Kayenta Mine ships approximately 8 million tons of coal annually to Navajo Generating Station.

Information: http://www.wrcc.osmre.gov/Current_Initiatives/Kayenta_Mine/Renewal.shtm or (303) 293-5035. E-mail comments to kayentarenewalea@osmre.gov

9/16/2011 Albuquerque Journal Online AP: PNM Files Appeal Over Power Plant Proposal

9/16/2011 Albuquerque Journal Online: PNM Files Appeal Over Power Plant Proposal By Susan Montoya Bryan / The Associated Press: New Mexico’s largest electric utility is going to court in hopes of putting the brakes on a plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to trim emissions from a coal-fired power plant that serves more than 2 million customers throughout the Southwest. Public Service Company of New Mexico filed an appeal Friday in federal court. The company is seeking to stay a decision made in August in which the EPA rejected an attempt by the state and PNM to scale back an order for installing what they consider top-of-the-line emission-cutting technology at the San Juan Generating Station near Farmington.

The EPA gave PNM five years to install selective catalytic reduction technology to reduce haze-causing emissions.

PNM contends the technology is unnecessary, expensive and would result in a financial burden for customers.

Read more: ABQJournal Online » PNM Files Appeal Over Power Plant Proposal http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2011/09/16/abqnewsseeker/pnm-files-appeal-over-power-plant-proposal.html#ixzz1YAdWgMfB
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Read more: ABQJournal Online » PNM Files Appeal Over Power Plant Proposal

Mayor Bloomberg gives $50 million to fight coal-fired power plants

Mayor Bloomberg gives $50 million to fight coal-fired power plants By Christian Torres and and Juliet Eilperin, Published: July 21: New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced Thursday that he will donate $50 million to the Sierra Club to support its nationwide campaign to eliminate coal-fired power plants. Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune described the gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, to be spread over four years, as “a game-changer, from our perspective.” The group will devote the money to its Beyond Coal campaign, which has helped block the construction of 153 new coal-fired power plants across the country since 2002. The campaign will expand from 15 to 45 states, plus the District of Columbia.

Among current targets is the Potomac River Generating Station in Alexandria, which was the backdrop for Thursday’s announcement. Bloomberg, Brune and Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) spoke on the deck of the restaurant cruise ship Nina’s Dandy, which floated several hundred yards away on the Potomac River. Moran said the plant “should have been shut down decades ago.”

Bloomberg’s announcement “has no effect on GenOn business,” said Misty Allen, director of external affairs for GenOn Energy, which owns the plant. “We’d like to remind everyone that on this, the hottest day of the year, with cities across the country setting up cooling spots that need power, it’s the Sierra Club’s goal to shut down all coal-fired plants,” Allen said, noting that coal-fired plants contribute to more than 40 percent of U.S. energy production.

Brune said in a phone interview that the group will use the money “to identify the oldest, dirtiest coal-fired power plants, retire them and replace them with clean energy.” The 62-year-old Potomac plant is among the oldest of the country’s roughly 400 coal-fired power plants. The Sierra Club said its goal is to retire about one-third of them by 2020.

As mayor of New York, Bloomberg (I) has pushed for environmentally friendly policies such as investing in renewable energy and making the city’s taxi fleet more efficient. But this is his largest financial contribution to an environmental effort, and the donation will swell the Sierra Club’s $80 million annual budget.

Bloomberg also tied the coal-burning issue to his work in public health, which includes bans on smoking in New York. He said he is now “joining another front for clean air” by contributing to the Sierra Club, and he plans to commit his time and energy to the campaign.

Scott Segal, a coal lobbyist, said in an e-mail that although it is up to the mayor’s foundation to determine which contributions make sense, “the mayor well knows that the key to New York’s success lies in access to affordable and reliable power.”

Asked about the city’s energy supply, Bloomberg was frank about the choices. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and others have pressed to close the nearby Indian Point nuclear power plant, but the mayor said city residents get more than 8 percent of their electricity from the facility and lack a ready substitute. “It’s just not practical to close it down at the moment,” he said.

With Bloomberg’s donation, the Sierra Club plans to expand its Beyond Coal staff from about 100 people to nearly 200 full-time employees. Most of them will engage in grass-roots organizing, but some will work on lawsuits or social networking.

The announcement underscores the extent to which environmentalists are focused on efforts beyond the Beltway, given the opposition in Congress to nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re putting our faith in local communities to protect public health and promote clean energy,” Brune said. “Congress has failed to do the job on that. We’re confident local communities can do the job where Congress hasn’t.”

The group has just launched an extensive billboard advertising campaign in Washington’s Metro system, with pictures of young children who are described as “filters” for power plant pollution. Ads are running on a smaller scale in Chicago and New York and in some U.S. airports.

9/13/2011 Board recommends removal of Black Mesa coal slurry pipeline

9/13/2011 Board recommends removal of Black Mesa coal slurry pipeline By JIM SECKLER/The Daily News: KINGMAN — The county supervisors recommended Monday the removal of a coal slurry pipeline that stretches across the county. The supervisors recommended the removal of the coal slurry pipeline on public lands in the county at the expense of its owner, Black Mesa Pipeline Inc. The company had sought to relinquish its rights to the pipeline. The pipeline starts on the Navajo reservation and runs east to west across Mohave County crossing through northern Kingman and ending in Bullhead City.

Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport Director David Gaines asked the board to remove several hundred feet of the pipeline, some of it which goes under the airport’s runway and taxiway. He also recommended another section to be sealed in concrete and capped so a firehouse can be built.

One speaker spoke of keeping some of the easement for the pipeline to transport water and possibly fiber optics in the future. However, Mohave County Manager Ron Walker said most of the 40-year-old pipeline is in poor shape and could be a liability to the county.

The pipeline parallels Interstate 40 from Seligman westward then runs through northern Kingman running parallel to Highway 68 through Golden Valley before it crosses the Black Mountains and into Bullhead City to Laughlin.

The 273-mile coal slurry pipeline fed into the now defunct Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin that was shut down in December 2005. The 40-year-old power plant’s 500-foot smoke stack was demolished in March.

When MGS was in operation, the coal was mixed with water and pumped through the pipeline from the mines on the Navajo reservation to MGS. The water was extracted from the slurry and the coal was burned to fuel the plant’s turbines.

9/7/2011 Durango Herald: Air quality backpedal – Obama’s retreat from rule was wrong

9/7/2011 Durango Herald: Air quality backpedal-Obama’s retreat from rule was wrong: One of the oft- and rightly criticized hallmarks of George W. Bush’s environmental policy was its brazen disregard for science, instead favoring political or ideological arguments. To the environmental community, and all those who value policies that are built upon research and scientific rigor, the Obama administration’s promise to do just that in its environmental efforts was a welcome answer to the Bush era. So it was with no small amount of disappointment that news was received last week of the administration’s decision to abandon an effort to tighten ground-level ozone standards.

Had the announcement been justified by science, it might have made the pill less bitter to swallow, but that was not the case. Instead, the decision appears to have come as a result of some rather basic political calculus, infused with integers from a concerted lobbying effort on the part of a range of business interests – including the American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. Tapping into the hot-button political issues such as jobs and burdensome regulatory efforts that stymie economic growth, this lobbying cohort effectively chastened the administration into abandoning the revised ozone standard so as not to give Republicans fodder for criticizing Obama’s commitment to job creation and economic recovery.

The trouble is, that is a false premise that gained unwarranted traction at a time steeped in all-jobs-all-the-time rhetoric. In accepting that claim, Obama has sidestepped a more important issue: public health and its impact on economies – not to mention communities, human and otherwise – over the long term.

The revised ozone standard that was widely expected to be accepted by Obama, would have reduced the limit of acceptable levels of ozone from 75 parts per billion to 60 to 70 parts per billion. That change would have meant many counties across the country exceeded the limit. La Plata County’s fate under the revision was uncertain, but noncompliance was a possibility. Regardless, ground-level ozone – that which is generated as a result of emissions from industrial activity such as gas and oil drilling – is known to cause a range of health problems such as increased asthma rates, as well as compounded effects of emphysema and bronchitis, and an overall decrease in lung capacity. The Environmental Protection Agency’s analysis of the standard found that a 60 to 70 parts per billion limit would be the most cost-effective way to address the growing issue. Despite opponents’ claim that the new rule would cost industry $90 billion a year to implement, the EPA found that savings of up to $100 billion each year would result. Nevertheless, Obama punted.

Aside from the disproportionate role politics played in his decision to ignore the EPA scientists’ recommendations, Obama showed a troubling willingness to play fast and loose with public health. With documented ill effects associated with ground-level ozone, erring on the side of caution, particularly when that caution is bolstered by abundant scientific evidence, is the responsibility of any good policymaker. Shirking that charge in order to win an election and duck criticism is a disappointment – to those to whom the administration promised better, to those who expect reason and research to take precedence over calculation and rhetoric, and to those who have seen the effectiveness of regulation in protecting those who suffer the environmental and health consequences of the industries that shape our economy. Both are essential to consider in formulating policy and striking a balance is always a goal, but putting a political finger on the scales produces nothing but cynicism.