Environment: $160 million cleanup ordered at coal-burning, pollution-spewing Four Corners power plant


New pollution controls will cut emissions at the Four Corners power plant.

Settlement includes requirements for regional public health and environmental mitigation projects

Staff Report

FRISCO — One of the dirtiest coal-burning power plants in the country will be required to upgrade pollution controls, cutting thousands of tons of harmful sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions.

The $160 million cleanup at the Four Corners Power Plant, located on the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, New Mexico, comes under a court-ordered Clean Air Act settlement between the EPA and several Arizona and New Mexico-based utility companies.

The total combined emission reductions secured from the settlement will exceed 2 million tons each year, once all the required pollution controls are installed and implemented. Continue reading

Environmental groups slam McConnell-led Senate


U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

100 days of pain …

Staff Report

FRISCO — A furious assault on the environment during the first 100 days of a GOP-controlled Senate has environmental advocates on the defensive.

Instead of making progress on climate change and other key conservation issues, progressives are in the position of trying to hold the line on gains they made during the first six years of the Obama administration.

According to a coalition of advocacy groups, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that his top priority is protecting polluters and dismantling clean air and public health protections. Continue reading

Power plant greenhouse gas emissions drop 23 percent


Switching to natural gas power generation has helped slow the pace of greenhouse gas emissions. Photo via the Wikimedia Commons.

Coal losing ground, but is still the biggest source of fuel for generating electricity

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The gradual shift to natural gas power plants may not be a panacea for reducing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases, but the switch has helped slow the pace emissions.

“Since more and more of our electricity is coming from these cleaner power plants, emissions from the power sector are lower by 20, 30 even 40 percent for some gases since 1997,” said NOAA atmospheric scientists Joost de Gouw. Continue reading

EPA’s proposed limits on power plant emissions would accelerate shift from coal to natural gas


Coal-fired power plants currently produce about 46 percent of the country’s electricity. Photo via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.

Study compares economic sensitivity of gas and coal-fired power plants

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Proposed new limits on power plant emissions could spur a big shift away from coal and toward natural gas. The new rules on sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and mercury may make nearly two-thirds of the nation’s coal-fired power plants as expensive to run as plants powered by natural gas, according to a new Duke University study.

“Because of the cost of upgrading plants to meet the EPA‘s pending emissions regulations and its stricter enforcement of current regulations, natural gas plants would become cost-competitive with a majority of coal plants — even if natural gas becomes more than four times as expensive as coal,” said Lincoln F. Pratson, a professor of earth and ocean sciences at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Continue reading

Energy: Four Corners power plant to be scrutinized

The Four Corners Power Plant in a 1972 photo via Wikipedia.

Feds plan to take a look at cumulative impacts from emissions, coal mining, and will consider alternatives, including renewable energy

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After 50 years of operation, the Four Corners Power Plant will get a hard look from federal officials, who are planning an environmental study to scrutinize cumulative impacts from one of biggest coal-burning operations in the country.

The plant, operated by Arizona Public Service Co., provides power to about 300,000 households in New Mexico, Arizona, California and Texas. It has been operating since 1963.

“We have worked for decades to get an accurate assessment of the impacts from the Four Corners Power Plant and the Navajo Mine,” said Anna Frazier,  of Diné CARE. “Navajo communities have endured significant impacts to water, land, air, public health and our culture which must now be considered. We are hopeful that public-health data from entities including Indian Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and EPA will be incorporated correctly in the EIS,” she said. Continue reading

Colorado: Coal still king in Summit County energy mix

The Four Corners coal power plant. Photo courtesy EcoFlight.org. Click to track Ecoflight state by state.

70 percent of the power for the local area derived from dirty fossil fuels

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite small-scale hyperlocal efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the local area still relies on coal to a much larger degree than the national average, according to an online EPA clean energy tracker.

The calculations, based on data from 2009, show that, for Frisco’s 80443 zip code, coal accounts for 67.8 percent of the energy used in the area. The national average is 44.5 percent. Continue reading

Colorado: Romney to hold rally in Craig

Mitt Romney.

State’s mining industry touts appearance as a boost for fossil fuel

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will bring his pro-fossil fuel agenda to the heart of Colorado this week, with a campaign appearance scheduled Craig Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m.

The location highlights the fact that energy policies could be a significant issue in the upcoming presidential race. At the state level, Colorado is embroiled in an intense debate over how to regulate impacts from traditional energy development, while the issue of continued incentives for renewable energy has been center stage at the national level. Continue reading


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