Navajo Power Plant Proposes Closing Unit Due to EPA Edict

Owners of the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant near the Grand Canyon, have proposed shuttering a unit by 2020 to avoid an Environmental Protection Agency mandate to install pollution-control devices.

The proposal was submitted to the EPA today in response to the agency’s plan set out earlier this year that would force the plant to install equipment on smokestacks to eliminate nitrogen oxide emissions. The EPA must still approve the plan and a decision will probably be made after comments are due in October.

The Navajo Generating Station, the largest coal plant in the U.S. West, began operating in the mid-1970s in Page, Arizona, less than 20 miles from the Grand Canyon. Pollution from the 2,250 megawatt plant is blamed for poor visibility in eight national parks.

The plant is owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and five utilities: Salt River Project, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Arizona Public Service Co., Nevada Power Co. and Tucson Electric Power Co.

The proposal submitted by those entities today would lead to greater reductions in nitrogen oxide than that forecast under EPA’s plan, according to a fact sheet from Salt River Project. Under the plan, the owners would either shutter one generating unit by 2020 or achieve reductions in pollutants equivalent to that action. In addition, the Interior Department said it would agree to renewable energy projects on Indian land as part of this effort.

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