It’s no secret that reducing air pollution creates a host of benefits for human health and the environment. But what does it mean in real terms when a coal plant cleans up its act and spews fewer particulates into the air?
It’s not just a theoretical question for communities surrounding the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona. This power plant is one of the oldest, filthiest coal-generating utilities in the country. The Environmental Protection Agency rightly determined that the plant would need to retrofit its facilities with the best available technology to comply with the Clean Air Act—but the agency may allow the plant to take up to 32 years to meet these important clean air standards. NPCA urges the EPA to make the power plant clean up its act in five years—long enough to implement high-tech solutions without exposing people and national parks to additional decades of unnecessary pollution.
NPCA and Western Clean Energy Coalition hired a health expert, Dr. George D. Thurston, Professor of Environmental Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, to detail some of the benefits reducing pollution would create for the communities near the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona. Here are six of the benefits Dr. Thurston reports:
- 16 fewer deaths per year
- 280 fewer lost work days a year due to illness
- 25 fewer heart attacks per year
- 47 fewer cases of bronchitis per year
- Significantly fewer emergency room visits
- A savings of between $13 million and $34 million per year in public health costs
We only have five more days to take action. Cleaning up the Navajo Generating Station will not only restore visibility to Grand Canyon and the region’s other magnificent national parks, but also make the air healthier to breathe.
For more information on Dr. Thurston’s research, see his full report and a fact sheet summary of his findings.
About the author
Stephanie Kodish Senior Director & Counsel, Clean Air & Climate
Stephanie Kodish leads NPCA's effort to protect national park resources, visitors and neighboring communities from air and climate pollution.