The proposed coal-fired power plants in Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah would spew into the atmosphere tons of mercury and CO2, the main contributor to climate change. This air pollution and greenhouse gases will affect the health and visibility of our national parks including Mesa Verde, Zion, and Great Basin. Plant and animal habitat as well as cultural resource damage and visitor and park staff health are all at risk. Below are details on each of the proposed coal-fired power plants:
Desert Rock Energy Project is a proposed 1,500 megawatt coal-fired power plant located in San Juan County, New Mexico. There are 27 national park units including nine Class I areas, within 300 km of the proposed facility including Mesa Verde, Chaco Cultural Natural Historic Park, and Aztec Ruins National Monument. In August 2007, NPCA submitted comments on the draft environmental impact statement for Desert Rock. These park specific comments outlined the negative impacts the proposed plant would have on the area’s national parks including degradation of air quality, wildlife, plant species and cultural resource detriments.
Sevier Power Company has proposed building a new 270 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Sigurd, Utah. If built, this plant would impact the air quality and visibility at Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks. NPCA has filed an amicus brief in support of Sierra Club’s challenge to the issuance of the air permit.
Intermountain Power Service Corporation was granted a permit by UDAQ to build an additional 950 megawatt unit to their existing facility in Millard County, Utah. This plant would add to the degradation of air quality and park resources in Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. NPCA has also filed an amicus in support of Sierra Club’s challenge.
Toquop Energy Project approximately 70 miles from Zion National Park is a 750 megawatt power plant located across the border in Nevada. If built Toquop will contribute to increasing degradation of air quality in the region and the stunning canyon vistas in the park will suffer from increasing haze.
White Pine located outside Ely, Nevada, would emit, among other pollutants, 330 pounds of mercury, 4,812 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 6,071 tons of sulfur dioxide per year. This proposed 1,590 megawatt conventional pulverized coal threatens the pristine air of nearby Great Basin National Park. NPCA submitted comments on the draft environmental impact statement.
Ely Energy Center also outside Ely Nevada is a 1,500 megawatt plant that on it's own will contribute enormous amounts of pollutants and greenhouse gases and combined with White Pine will have a devastating effect on Great Basin and the national parks across the border in Utah.
Mesa Verde, Zion, and Great Basin are profiled in Dark Horizons, NPCA's report that identifies the top 10 national parks at risk from pollution from new coal-fired power plants.
- Learn more about NPCA's clean air programs.
- Learn more about NPCA's Southwest Regional Office.
- Read other NPCA reports.