POWER: Navajo President supports a New Mexico Plan to install a less expensive emission controls
Aug. 14 | By: NP staff
NENAHNEZA – Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly threw his support behind a New Mexico plan, that would install less expensive emissions controls on San Juan Generating Station.
President Shelly said he supports the plan that the state of New Mexico proposed in response to the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze Rule. The U.S. EPA granted a 90-day stay before the implementation of the federal rule, which would force the power plant to install select catalytic reductions technology, which could cost more than $700 million.
The EPA projects that the Clean Air Act Amendments will prevent over 230,000 early deaths in 2020.
“If the EPA imposed strict rules about the plant’s emission, this will cause further economic impacts in this whole region,” said President Shelly during a stakeholders meeting at the Nenahnezad chapter house Thursday evening.
The meeting was to allow stakeholders to submit comments to a proposed U.S. EPA rule to reduce haze from the power plant and install costly SCR (select catalytic reductions) to the four units.
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“The plan we support, the SNCR (select non-catalytic reductions), will cost less to install and there will be reductions in NOx (nitrous oxide) emissions. There will be visibility improvement, and jobs and the local and regional economies will not be threatened,” President Shelly said
Installation of select non-catalytic reductions would cost about $77 million, according to PNM Resources, the New Mexico utility company that is the primary owner of San Juan Generating Station.
President Shelly said one of the primary reasons he supports the New Mexico plan is to preserve jobs at the plant.
“The middle class is following their dreams by working and having a job. As president, it is my job to protect the Navajo people and the best interests of the Navajo Nation,” President Shelly said.
The power plant and San Juan Mine, which is the only supplier of coal to SJGS, employ more than 800 people, of which nearly 300 are Navajo.
Aside from protecting jobs and the economy, the Navajo Nation says that the U.S. EPA didn’t consider economic impacts to the region, the analysis of no tribal implications of the rule is not supported, and the Navajo Nation filed an Amicus Curiae to support New Mexico’s plan.
The Navajo Nation EPA is accepting comments about the proposed federal rules until Aug. 13. Public comments about San Juan Generating Station may be submitted to the Navajo Nation EPA through email at email@example.com or written comments can be mailed to Navajo Nation EPA, P.O. Box 339, Window Rock, Ariz. 86515.