Tag Archives: Coal Fired Power Plant

4/6/2011 Daily Times: San Juan Generating Station operator requests permit change

4/6/2011 Daily Times: San Juan Generating Station operator requests permit changes [11:10 a.m.] By Chuck Slothower Posted: 04/06/2012 11:09:15 AM MDT: FARMINGTON — The operator of San Juan Generating Station on Friday requested changes to the coal plant’s air permit to allow for the installation of new pollution controls demanded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Public Service Co. of New Mexico has been battling with the EPA over what kind of technology it should install to meet federal haze-reduction requirements.

“We are prepared to move forward on installing new environmental controls that will meet federal visibility requirements and further reduce the plant’s emissions,” PNM chief executive Pat Vincent-Collawn said in a prepared statement Friday. “Our strong preference is to do this in the most cost-effective way so that the cost to PNM customers and our state’s economy is kept as low as possible.”

PNM is pushing a state plan to install nonselective catalytic reduction technology. But the EPA has mandated selective catalytic reduction, a more expensive but much more effective technology.

The Albuquerque-based utility company says the state plan would cost about $77 million, while the EPA’s mandate would cost $750 million or more. The EPA counters that SCR would cost only $345 million.
Friday’s filing with the state Environment Department requests air permit changes that would allow for the installation of either technology.

The plant’s current permit level for nitrogen oxides is 0.30 pounds per MMBtu and would be lowered to either 0.23 pounds per mmBtu with the installation of SNCR or 0.05 pounds per MMBtu with the installation of SCR, the utility said.

Located west of Farmington in Waterflow, San Juan Generating Station produces 1,800 megawatts of electricity. The city of Farmington owns a portion of one of the plant’s four units.

On March 28, PNM and San Juan Mine operator BHP Billiton agreed to a $10 million settlement with the Sierra Club to take steps aimed at keeping coal waste out of nearby streams.

8/29/2011 Asociated Press: Environmental review of Navajo mine moves forward

8/29/2011 Asociated Press: Environmental review of Navajo mine moves forward by SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN: ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal review of the potential environmental effects of expanding a coal mining operation on the Navajo reservation will continue uninterrupted after a panel of federal judges dismissed an appeal by the mine operator that tried to stop the assessment. Conservation groups hailed the decision from the three-judge panel with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The ruling prevents BHP Billiton from expanding its operation on tribal land in northwestern New Mexico while federal regulators re-assess the effects of the Navajo Minepermit on the environment and cultural and historic resources in the area. The mine covers thousands of acres and produces coal for the Four Corners Power Plant, one of the largest coal-fired generating stations in the U.S. The plant, operated by Arizona Public Service Co., provides electricity for customers in New Mexico, Arizona and other parts of the Southwest.

BHP Billiton said Monday it was reviewing the court’s decision and that operations were continuing in all areas except the parcel covered by the proposed expansion.

“BHP Billiton’s New Mexico coal operations have an overriding commitment to protect and care for the environment,” the company said in a statement, pointing to its reclamation work throughout the region.

Mike Eisenfeld of the group San Juan Citizens Alliance said the ruling affirms the responsibility of the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement to “properly analyze the significant impacts” of mining on the parcel known as Area IV North.

The San Juan Citizens Alliance and Dine Citizens Against Ruining our Environment sued in 2007, claiming the agency violated federal laws when renewing the mine’s permit in 2004 and approving a revised permit in 2005.

They argue an environmental impact statement needs to be done before the revised permit can be approved. Such a review would require consultation with other federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages endangered species in the Four Corners region.

The groups’ lawsuit claimed the Office of Surface Mining did not provide adequate public notice and failed to fully analyze potential consequences as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

The groups also complained the agency failed to assess the impacts of continuing to dump coal combustion waste from nearby power plants back into the mine.

In a ruling last October, U.S. District Judge John Kane of Colorado voided the approval of the 2005 permit. He requested that the Office of Surface Mining address potential environmental impacts and discuss mitigation measures, alternatives and possible conditions for approval of the permit.

Friday’s ruling stemmed from BHP Billiton’s appeal of Kane’s decision.

BHP Billiton has submitted a permit revision to mining regulators that includes Area IV North. Public meetings have been held on the application, but it’s unclear when the agency will issue a final decision on the permit.

Mike Eisenfeld
New Mexico Energy Coordinator
San Juan Citizens Alliance
108 North Behrend, Suite I
Farmington, New Mexico 87401
office 505 325-6724
cell 505 360-8994

Durango Telegraph: EPA cracks down on San Juan Generating Station

Durango Telegraph: EPA cracks down on area power plantOne of the Four Corners biggest polluters is in line for a make-over. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules that will require “modern controls” for the San Juan Generating Station. Not surprisingly, Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM), the power plant’s owner, has objected to the new ruling and is already planning an appeal. Located just west of Farmington, the San Juan Generating Station has been burning coal to generate electricity for more than 40 years. The plant also produces 16,000 tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions each year and is ranked as the ninth dirtiest coal-fired plant in the West. Nitrogen oxide not only creates haze, it is a primary ingredient in ground-level ozone, “the most widespread pollutant in the United State (and) one of the most dangerous,” according to the American Lung Association. Ozone has been linked with asthma attacks, respiratory problems, lung damage and premature death.

The EPA rule announced last Thursday will require the addition of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) pollution controls on the plant’s four boilers in the next five years. The upgrade is expected to cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent. The announcement is also a landmark and the EPA’s first federal plan in the country to limit nitrogen oxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. Watchdogs and conservationists hailed the move as a victory.

“We are pleased that EPA has done right in this precedent setting rule-making for the communities adversely affected by continued reliance on energy export coal-derived electricity,” said Mike Eisenfeld, of San Juan Citizens Alliance. “The true costs of relying on coal are coming to bear, and PNM is being held accountable for their pollution.”

The State of New Mexico and PNM take a dimmer view and had been lobbying for a different approach to pollution control at the San Juan Generating Station. However, their plan would have cut nitrogen oxide emissions by just 20 percent. The company is now arguing that the EPA’s plan will be an undue burden on New Mexico customers and is planning to appeal the decision.

“The EPA plan adds unnecessary costs to one of our lowest-cost sources of reliable power,” said Pat Themig, PNM vice president of generation. “If it stands, it will lead to significantly higher future electric rates for the 2 million customers who rely on the plant for reasonably priced power.”

Themig added that the EPA plan will require expenditures in excess of $750 million, while PNM’s would have cost just $77 million. The State of New Mexico concurred and in June approved the lower cost option at San Juan.

“The Clean Air Act gives each state the authority to implement a regional haze program appropriate for the state, and New Mexico exercised this authority when it approved its own plan in June,” Themig said. “EPA’s decision does not relieve it of legal responsibility to fully consider New Mexico’s plan.”

Eisenfeld countered that Themig’s argument is beside the point and argued that the company should be exploring 21st century technology and abandoning its reliance on coal-fired power.

“PNM could be transitioning to more sustainable energy forms in the Four Corners region that more readily reflect current renewable energy technologies rather than retrofitting 1970s archaic coal plants at continued high cost to our communities,” he said.

Donna House, of Diné CARE, a Navajo conservation organization, agreed. “Pollution from this plant has been hurting our communities for generations,” she said. “Cutting coal pollution is a must, and moving to a cleaner energy than coal is the real answer.”

Deadline for comments Thursday, August 4th: Tell US EPA to set strong new standards to limit mercury, arsenic and other poisons in air, water, food supply

KEEP TOXIC MERCURY OUT OF OUR AIR & WATER Time is running out to ask the EPA to set strong new standards to limit mercury, arsenic and other poisons in our air, water and food supply. The deadline to submit public comments on these crucial standards is Thursday, August 4th. Strong standards will help save tens of thousands of lives each year and save Americans money, but Big Coal is pulling out all the stops to weaken them. Please hurry! We’re less than 6,000 comments away from our goal of sending 30,000 comments by Thursday.

Please tell the EPA you want strong mercury standards to protect our health, not weak standards to protect Big Coal’s bottom line.

To whom it may concern,

I am writing as a concerned citizen to urge you to set strong standards limiting the amount of mercury released by energy companies. For decades, coal-fired power plants have been polluting our air with dangerous levels of mercury. By setting the first-ever national standards for mercury pollution, we can take a huge step towards reducing further damage to our health and environment.

Lobbyists from coal-fueled energy companies are attempting to use their vast resources to mislead the public about this rule and portray it as an initiative that will kill jobs and destroy the economy. I stand with thousands of other informed advocates who know that this is irresponsible and untrue: for every $1 spent on these measures, the American taxpayer will see $13 in benefits.

Furthermore, it’s estimated that strong standards will help prevent 17,000 premature deaths each year. You have the opportunity to save lives. I urge you to stand strong against pressure from energy companies and the elected officials in their debt, and instead keep the health of the American public and our environment as your number one interest as you develop limits for mercury pollution.

Thank you in advance for protecting us from these dangerous chemicals.

5/31/2011 NRDC Would You Like Cancer-causing or Brain-poisoning Pollution With That Electricity?

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) Staff Blog by Pete Altman: Hundreds of people have said no to toxic pollution from power plants near them by attending U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hearings. The last one is today in Atlanta — if you can’t make it, support the EPA’s proposals to make power companies cut the amount of mercury, arsenic, chromium, acid gases & other nasty stuff they release into the air by TAKING ACTION: http://b/ Next time you flip on the light switch, how would you respond if a little voice asked you “Thanks for your order. Would you like cancer with your electricity? How about some brain-poison?” Weird question, right? Unfortunately, power companies are one of the biggest toxic polluters in the US, dumping millions of pounds of cancer-causing, brain-poisoning toxins like arsenic and mercury into the air each year. The toxins are found in the coal that is burned to supply about ½ of our nation’s electricity.

This week, hundreds of people have shown up to hearings in Philadelphia and Chicago organized by the US Environmental Protection Agency to say “no thanks” to toxic pollution from power plants, and support the EPA’s proposals to make power companies reduce the amount of mercury, arsenic, chromium, acid gases and other nasty stuff they release into the air.

(To let the EPA know you support reducing toxic pollution from power plants, take action here.)

As the Associated Press explained,

Several hundred people, from environmentalists and physicians to mothers and fishermen, testified before a panel of federal environmental officials on Tuesday to urge the passage of proposed new standards to limit the amount of air pollution that coal-fired power plants can release into the atmosphere.”

One those physicians was Dr. Kevin Osterhoudt, medical director of the poison control center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who said

Young children are uniquely vulnerable to the toxic effects of environmental poisons such as mercury and arsenic. These compounds are especially dangerous to the developing brain and nervous system.

Some of the speakers pulled no punches. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported,

Rabbi Daniel Swartz leaned toward the microphone at Tuesday’s hearing on proposed federal rules to limit mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.

By allowing emissions to continue, “we have, in effect, subsidized the poisoning of fetuses and children,” the Scranton rabbi said.

In Chicago, a similar scene unfolded, as the Chicago Tribune reported, with supporters of limiting toxic air pollution coming out in force, as noted by Chicago radio station WBEZ:

Midwesterners who testified at a public hearing in Chicago Tuesday afternoon were overwhelmingly in favor of the proposed EPA plan.”

One of those speaking in Chicago was NRDC’s Shannon Fisk, who focused on the critical need for EPA to act swiftly to reduce toxic pollution, saying,

[Some] in industry are pushing EPA to delay …my question to these agents of delay is how much is enough. How many lives are they willing to sacrifice in order to have even more time to install pollution controls that have been available for decades?”

Polling shows that throughout the nation, Americans strongly support reducing toxic air pollution from industrials sources. A February 2011 survey by Public Policy Polling revealed that 66% of Americans support “requiring stricter limits on the amount of toxic chemicals such as mercury lead and arsenic that coal power plants and other industrial facilities release.”

The EPA’s final hearing on the toxics rules is in Atlanta today. But going to a hearing isn’t the only way for concerned citizens to weigh in.

If you’d like to say “no thanks” to cancer-causing and brain-poisoning toxins from power plants, send a comment directly to the EPA in support of the toxics proposals by using our quick and easy action page.

4/4/2011 CENSORED NEWS Navajo President Ben Shelly: Another sellout politician for coal fired power plants

CENSORED NEWS Monday, April 4, 2011: Navajo President Ben Shelly: Another sellout politician for coal fired power plants, Mr. Shelly goes to ‘Washindon’ Gives Mixed Messages in Bizarre Testimony By Dine’ Care. Dine’ Citizens Against Ruining our Environment. On April Fool’s Day, 2011, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly testified at an oversight hearing held by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs in Washington, D.C. on “Tribal Development of Energy and the Creation of Energy Jobs on Indian Lands.”

In a rambling, inconsistent, and grammatically challenged seven-page statement, Shelly claims to favor a “multi-prong” approach to energy development as the answer to Navajo poverty and unemployment. He takes a passing sniff at wind and solar potential, but then circles back to the familiar poisoned trough of good ol’ dirty coal, even raising the ghost of Desert Rock.

This is where Shelly’s script really gets mixed up, starting with plagiarism and going downhill from there. He begins by cutting and pasting language from the San Juan Citizens Alliance web site, including the fact that most of the electricity that would have come out of the Desert Rock Energy Project, was “slated for Tucson/Phoenix and the Las Vegas markets. [Only] a small percentage, up to 5%, of the proposed power from Desert Rock would stay on the Navajo Nation, where many citizens continue to live without electricity.”

This was just one of the many compelling arguments against Desert Rock, but in Shelly’s nonsensical cut and paste world, who cares? He tosses in a reference to “Clean Coal Technology” and thousands of jobs, both of which are pure fantasy, and calls it good.

First of all, it is troubling that an elected leader and spokesman of America’s largest Indian nation would stoop to such a low, unprofessional level of plagiarism and intellectual property theft while testifying before an official Congressional body. Secondly, it confirms up-until-now whispered rumors that the Navajo tribal president hasn’t had an original thought since Jesus was a little boy. And third and most distressing is the fact that his public testimony was recklessly conceived in nature and wildly inaccurate upon delivery in a number of highly important policy areas as regards critical Navajo energy and water futures.

During his vice presidency, Shelly supported Desert Rock until he announced his presidential candidacy. Then he said he opposed it. And now that he is president he is supporting it again, or at least that’s what he told the congressional subcommittee under oath. What about all the Navajo people who voted for him last year because he said that he opposed DR? The truth is that he lied to them–the Navajo voting majority—and that’s no April Fool’s joke.

“Clean Coal Technology” (CCT) is a technological myth. There is no such thing as clean coal–just like there is no such thing as clean uranium. In fact, strip mining and burning coal activates and releases as much if not more deadly radioactive materials into the environment than mining and milling uranium. So if he supports the continuation of the Navajo Nation uranium ban because of its radioactive dangers–as he testified–then he should also support a Navajo Nation-wide ban on coal for the same reason.

We, Diné CARE, have the renewable energy plan that would actually fulfill Ben Shelly’s campaign promise to bring clean renewable solar and wind power to our energy- deprived and suffering people, who are forced to burn dirty and dangerous coal in their woodstoves. In order to make that happen we would be more than willing to work in true partnership with the Silly and Shim administration. But first, he needs to stop sending out people like Steven Etsitty to openly blame the innocent Navajo victim for “causing” indoor air pollution before all those white people in the EN3 farce.

Speaking of shameful acts, Shelly should be ashamed for approving the recent Four Corners Power Plant lease extension for a mere $7 million a year until 2041 (or is it 2064–the year he quoted to Congress?). The CEO of Arizona Public Service Company makes over $5 million a year alone, yet our tribal leaders, who are working furiously to bargain their way out of corruption charges, betrayed us and sold out our precious future generations for a box of beads and trinkets.

Equally shameful is our government’s and Mr. Shelly’s rejection of SCR pollution control at Four Corners Power Plant and Navajo Generating Station. Instead he spoke of “a phased approach to emissions reductions for the plants, in coordination with the glide path from 2004 to 2064.” A sixty year soft landing for our leaders’ industry friends. Meanwhile, how many hundreds or thousands of our Diné people will sicken and die from sixty years of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury, and the other poisons coming out of those stacks?

The Navajo Nation has no energy policy because of tribal leadership failure. APS controls our energy future. All the off-reservation, non-Indian power company had to do was threaten to close the Four Corners Power Plant if the tribe did not renew its lease. And because of the threat, it got its way. That’s not tribal sovereignty. That’s economic blackmail. Salt River project is threatening to do the same thing with the Navajo Generating Station lease. That too is extortion by a non-Navajo energy corporation, but we can probably count on our President going to bat for these SRP thugs too.

Mr. President, during your presidential campaign, you and your running mate said that both of you opposed the proposed Northeastern Arizona Indian Water Rights Settlement Agreement, and its NGS Water Provisions. Those provisions install forever the illegal waiver of Navajo water rights to the Arizona portion of the Upper Colorado River Basin. But now that you are both in office, you haven’t acted to rescind the agreement that you said you opposed. What’s the matter, cat got your tongue? A copy-cat, perhaps?

Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment

Note: Please send an e-mail for a pdf copy of President Shelly’s 8-page testimony: Censored News, Brenda Norrell, brendanorrell@gmail.com