Felicia Fonseca – Associated Press
The largest coal-fired power plant in the West will produce one-third less energy by 2020 and is on track to cease operations in 2044 under a proposal that the federal government adopted to cut haze-causing emissions of nitrogen oxide at places like the Grand Canyon.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that the owners of the Navajo Generating Station could either shut down one of the plant’s 750-megawatt units or reduce power generation by an equal amount by 2020. The owners would have until 2030 to install pollution controls that would cut nitrogen-oxide emissions by 80 percent.
EPA regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld in San Francisco said a final decision didn’t come easily and required flexibility. Along with meeting energy demands in the West, the 2,250-megawatt plant powers a series of canals that deliver water to Phoenix and Tucson, fuels the economies of the Navajo and Hopi Tribes, and helps fulfill American Indian water-rights settlements with the federal government.
“This is so complex and integrated into the fabric of Arizona,” Blumenfeld said.
The final rule comes five years after the EPA gave notice that it was considering pollution controls for the plant. The agency later released a proposal that would have required the upgrades by 2023. (…)