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EPA proposes clean air plan for Four Corners, Navajo Generating Station Power Plants

Release Date: 08/31/2006
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, 415/947-4248, chavez.wendy@epa.gov

(San Francisco, Calif. -- 08/30/2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed clean air plans that regulate emissions for the Four Corners Power Plant in Farmington, New Mex. and the Navajo Generating Station near Page, Ariz., both located on the Navajo Nation.

The plans include federal emission limits for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, total particulate matter, opacity, and dust control requirements.

The 3-unit 2,250 megawatt Navajo Generating Station, which began operating in 1974, has obtained significant sulfur dioxide reductions through an existing visibility plan that required phased installation of pollution control equipment in 1997, 1998, and 1999. The plan announced today proposes a more stringent opacity requirement of 20 percent for the plant.

The plan also proposes significant sulfur dioxide reductions from its historic highs at the 5-unit 2,040 megawatt Four Corners plant, which began operations in 1962. The reductions are the result of a partnership between the Navajo Nation, the Arizona Public Service, the National Park Service, Environmental Defense, the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, New Mexico Citizens for Clean Air and Water, and the U.S. EPA.

“The willingness of the Navajo Nation and these organizations to work together means that the Four Corners plant will be emitting 57 percent less sulfur dioxide per year than in the past, “said Deborah Jordan, the EPA’s Air Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “Today’s actions ensure that citizens in the Four Corners area will have cleaner air to breathe, and that visibility in the Four Corners area will be improved.”

“This action will formalize agreements that the Navajo Nation EPA made with Four Corners Power Plant last year to reduce emissions and address long standing concerns,” said Stephen B. Etsitty, executive director of the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency. “NNEPA will continue to seek further emission reductions from existing and new sources within its jurisdiction.”

The EPA proposed a federal plan for Four Corners in 1999, but held off on finalizing the plan until negotiations on sulfur dioxide reductions for Four Corners were complete. Negotiations and the testing period have successfully concluded, and the EPA is currently proposing a new federal plan that includes the sulfur dioxide reductions.

However, as a result of the delay, the Sierra Club filed a complaint July 26 in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico requiring the EPA to take final action on its 1999 proposed federal plan. The EPA has 60 days from the filing date to respond.

The EPA will hold an informational meeting on Oct. 5 from 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. and a public hearing from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the Farmington Courtyard Marriott at 560 Scott Ave. in Farmington, New Mex. The EPA will accept public comments until Nov. 6. Additional information on the plan and the public hearing will be available on the EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/region09/air/navajo/index.html

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