EPA Gives Coal Plant a Pass

Update:  You can view the proposed rule here, and send comments by 14 May to
Webb.Thomas@epa.gov. You should indicate your support for the more effective "selective catalytic reduction" technology, which would help keep poisons out of the nearby community of Moapa and improve visibility in our wildlands.
The Reid Gardner coal power plant casts a shadow over the Moapa Band of Paiutes, along the Muddy River in the eastern Mojave Desert.  On an annual basis, the coal plant spews three million tons of CO2,  nearly four thousand pounds of nitrogen oxides and, 71 pounds of mercury (a miniscule fraction of which is considered deadly).  Reid Gardner is a dangerous neighbor to this small community northeast of Las Vegas.  The tribe is fighting vigorously to put an end to this toxic industry, but the EPA recently proposed a rule that would permit the plant to continue operating with only marginal reductions in pollutants.  According to the EPA ruling, the costs of the most effective emission controls would not be "justified," passing up an opportunity to use the best available technology to protect our community and environment.

The EPA's proposed rule is primarily focused on controlling the "haze," or visual impacts, of the coal plant's toxic cocktail, and so the EPA determined that weaker and less effective emission controls -- despite being three times less effective at reducing haze than the best available technology -- would be enough to be in compliance with EPA regulations.  According to the EPA proposal, the "cost of compliance" was the primary basis for the decision.  The EPA's preferred technology would reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) at a rate of approximately $1,100 per ton, whereas a more effective technology was assessed at $3,600 per ton.  No matter how much each ton of NOx costs to remove, it is still equally harmful to our health.  Our health is apparently worth no more than $1,100 per ton of visual and toxic blight.

The Reid Gardner Coal Plant in Nevada.
Our Environmental Protection Agency should be protecting our communities and our natural resources, and not allowing one of the oldest coal power plants to poison a Native American community and pollute our air


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