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“Then the only way for the State of Arizona to get involved is to file suit or become a party to one of the suits,”
The other irony, Flake said, is that Navajo Generating Station was built as a compromise with support of environmental groups to prevent two hydroelectric dams from being constructed in the Grand Canyon.
The Navajo Nation favors a phased-in approach to the Regional Haze Rule so as to not threaten about 900 Navajo jobs at Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta Mine. In August, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly reiterated his position that the EPA recognize the Navajo Generating Station's Low-NOx Burners as sufficient.
“We want Navajo Generating Station to stay open,”
said Sherrick Roanhorse, chief of staff in President Shelly's office.
“Our people from the LeChee area as well as the Shonto area depend on Navajo Generating Station for jobs. To us, to the Navajo Nation, to my boss President Ben Shelly, it's about jobs. It's about the economy. It's about sustaining our livelihood.”
About 85 percent of the Navajo Generating Station work force is Navajo. About 93 percent of work force at the Kayenta Mine is Navajo and Hopi.
The closure of the Mohave Generating Station near Laughlin, Nev., in December 2005 closed the Black Mesa Mine, caused the loss of 250 Navajo jobs, and resulted in a $10 million reduction in coal royalty payments to the Navajo Nation.
The imminent shutdown of the Four Corners Power Plant's Units 1, 2, and 3 and the installation of Selective Catalytic Reduction technology on Units 4 and 5 will result in the additional loss of up to $16million dollars a year in revenue to the Navajo Nation starting in 2013.
“Should Navajo Generating Station shut down, it's going to put us in a worse situation,”
Ostapuk said that when the Mohave Generating Station closed -ostensibly because it was causing haze in the Grand Canyon - it's sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions went to zero. In the six years since then, however, two studies show little improvement.
“The visibility was basically unchanged,”
Central Arizona Project representative Mitch Basefsky said one of the reasons Navajo Generating Station was built was to generate power to pump half a trillion gallons of Colorado River water per year 336 miles uphill to central and southern Arizona.
He said it is the largest single user of electricity in the state, and 95 percent of its power comes from Navajo Generating Station.
Some 41 percent of Central Arizona Project 's water is used for agriculture and 47 percent is dedicated to Native American use. The Central Arizona Project provides water to about 80 percent of the state's water users, including 45percent of Phoenix's total water demand, and nearly80 percent Tucson's water demand by 2020.
If the Navajo Generating Station were to close, Basefsky said, Central Arizona Project water users could see their costs double from $16 million per year to $30 million, putting many farmers out of business and causing a negative impact throughout Arizona's economy.
An Arizona State University study released this year found the state stands to lose approximately $18 to $20 billion in gross state product and 3,400 jobs over the next 25 years should Navajo Generating Station close.
But if the EPA takes into account Navajo Generating Station's progress through the reduction of NOx emissions through its Low-Nox Burners, gives it time to complete the environmental review and renews its lease with the Navajo Nation, that could be prevented.
“The EPA has flexibility,”
“They have 50 years out to 2064 to try to reduce emissions in the region, and we're a piece of that, but a smaller fraction than you might believe. So we've asked the EPA to give us some time and flexibility. The (Navajo Generating Station) owners really care about being a good neighbor and doing the right things for the environment.”
posted September 11, 2012 8:20 am edt