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National Parks Group Finds EPA Air Clean Up Plan at Nevada Coal-Fired Power Plant to be Weak
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Action Lets One of the Nation’s Dirtiest Coal-Fired Power Plants Continue to Send Thousands of Tons of Noxious Pollutants into the Air, Harming People, National Parks and Wilderness Areas
Statement by: Lynn Davis, NPCA Nevada Field Office Manager
WASHINGTON - August 15 - “This long-awaited decision should have required the antiquated Reid Gardner coal-fired power plant, located 50 miles north of Las Vegas, to significantly reduce pollution. Instead, the EPA’s decision will do little to clean up the air which will result in continued negative impacts on the health of those living or visiting the region and the health and integrity of our iconic national parks and wilderness areas.
“The emissions from Nevada’s Reid Gardner coal plant affect four states and five protected public areas — landscapes determined to be worthy of special air quality protection — including Grand Canyon National Park and Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area in Arizona, Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks in Utah, and Joshua Tree National Park in California.
“Ironically, the impact from dirty, toxic pollutants has been acknowledged even by NV Energy, the company that operates this facility. NPCA, along with other conservation leaders, the Moapa Band of Paiutes, and most recently Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), have advocated that the plant’s pollution be mitigated. Just last week, at a conference promoting clean renewable energy, Sen. Reid called the plant a ‘dirty relic’ with ‘dangerous chemicals inside.’ Yet the EPA has chosen to largely ignore these significant concerns.
“The Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze Rule obligates states and the EPA to reduce and ultimately eliminate the air pollution that causes haze and otherwise degrades the air quality in national parks and wilderness areas, in part by mandating the installation of state-of-the-art pollution controls or “best available retrofit technology” (BART) for major industrial polluters, including dirty coal-fired power plants like Reid Gardner. But this new EPA decision does not provide the muscle that is needed to clean up the toxins coming out of this plant. NPCA is deeply disappointed that EPA has failed to uphold its Congressional-mandated duty of protecting and restoring air quality in the region’s natural treasures for the benefit of our children and grandchildren."