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EPA's Latest Proposal for Navajo Generating Station Cuts Emissions, Protects Health

Release Date: 09/25/2013
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a supplemental proposal to reduce emissions from Navajo Generating Station (NGS), one of the largest sources of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in the country. The 2,250 megawatt power coal-fired power plant is located on the Navajo Nation, less than 20 miles from the Grand Canyon, near Page, Arizona and the Utah state line.

On February 5, EPA issued a proposal to reduce by 73 percent the visibility impacts of NGS on eleven National Parks and Wilderness Areas. As part of that proposal, EPA asked the public to submit alternative scenarios that would achieve greater visibility benefits through different mechanisms. In response, a coalition of stakeholders from various sectors developed and submitted to EPA an alternative that establishes a lifetime cap in NOx emissions, accommodates different future ownership scenarios, and ensures greater emission reductions than EPA’s initial proposal.

The coalition, known as the Technical Work Group (TWG), is composed of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Gila River Indian Community, Navajo Nation, the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement District, the Department of the Interior and Western Resources Advocates.

Today’s supplemental proposal adds TWG’s alternative as a third option now available for public comment prior to final agency action. EPA conducted a rigorous review of the TWG alternative to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

“These creative alternatives achieve greater emissions reductions at NGS while giving tribes and owners more flexibility,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This is good news for visitors to national parks and for public health.”

NGS is co-owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Salt River Project, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Arizona Public Service, Nevada Power Company and Tucson Electric Power.

Although not formally part of the today’s action, the TWG plan also includes commitments by the U.S. Department of the Interior to achieve 80 percent clean energy for the federal share in NGS by 2035, and to complete a study on renewable energy options for the plant by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The TWG plan also includes a guarantee that the environmental review for NGS will consider clean energy generation options.

EPA is requesting comment by January 6, 2014, on today’s supplemental proposal and the initial February proposal. The public will have five opportunities to attend open houses and public hearings in Arizona during the week of November 12:

                November 12: LeChee, Ariz.
                Open House/Hearing: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
                LeChee Chapter House
                (Coppermine Road, 3 miles south of Page)

                November 12: Page, Ariz.
                Open House: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., Public Hearing: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
                Page High School Cultural Arts Building,
                434 Lake Powell Blvd.

                November 13: Kykotsmovi Village
                Open House: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., Public Hearing: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
                Hopi Day School
                Quarter-mile East Main Street

                November 14: Phoenix, Ariz.
                Open House: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., Public Hearing: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
                Phoenix Convention Center
                100 North 3rd Street

                November 15: Tucson, Ariz.
                Open House: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., Public Hearing: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
                Pima Community College West Campus
                Proscenium Theatre, Center for the Arts Building
                (2 miles west of I-10 on St. Mary’s Road)
For additional information on the proposed rulemaking and opportunities to provide input, please go to: http://www.epa.gov/region9/air/navajo/index.html#proposed