The War on Coal: Take Action!

by Patrick O’Malley
Precinct Committeeman LD12

On October 21 we talked about the EPA’s War on Coal and the power plants they are targeting in Arizona. The Sierra Club is bragging that they’ve closed down 150 coal power plants since 2010, and they want to make the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) in Page, AZ number 151. That’s the plant that supplies 90% of the electricity used to operate the Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal.

Those of us outside of the Page area won’t be part of the economic disaster that will take place in the Navajo Nation if NGS is shut down. They are the ones who will lose good paying jobs at the power plant and the coal mine. But everyone in Arizona will be affected, because, long term, somebody will have to pay to replace a perfectly good power plant with decades of life left in it. And that will be all of us paying more for electricity and water.

There are two EPA issues coming up right away that affect coal fired power plants in Arizona. The first is carbon capture with a deadline for the public to comment by November 8.  You can comment by email.

Carbon Capture – Unproven Technology

The way carbon capture is supposed to work is that you take the exhaust from a power plant and push it down into an abandoned oil well where the carbon gets captured. This is unproven technology for power plants. The first power plant to try it is scheduled to fire up in 2014, but the EPA would like to make it a rule now instead of waiting to see if it works first.

But what about Arizona where we don’t have any abandoned oil wells? Don’t worry; there is an option to pay a massive tax instead. And once again, we end up paying more for electricity and water.

Imaginary NOx Emissions from NGS

The second issue deals with NOx emissions from NGS only, which could have cost them $1.1B in added pollution controls. The Technical Working Group, including SRP, CAP, Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), Navajo Nation, Earth Defense Fund, and others, have a proposal to shut down one third of NGS and delay the schedule for adding more pollution equipment on the remainder. The Sierra Club was originally part of the group, but walked out because the proposal didn’t shut down enough of NGS.

The deadline for the public to comment is November 14.

The consensus is that this is the best deal we’re going to get, and Arizona citizens should support it before the EPA comes up with an idea to make it even worse.

See the link below for sample letters for both issues.  You can submit by email.  Feel free to use the samples as is or make your own.  

The strength of your comments is not when they go to the EPA and some clerk counts them as favorable or unfavorable. The real strength is when one of our representatives goes to a meeting with the EPA with a hundred emails in his hand and insists the EPA justify its actions!

So please copy me on your emails, so I can present them to the EPA.  My email address is  We have several representatives at different levels of government opposed to the EPA’s actions, and they need to know about your comments to strengthen their own negotiating position.
You should also attend the EPA hearings on NGS in Phoenix on November 14 and tell the EPA your position.

Don’t think of it as talking to the EPA. Think of it as talking to the other members of the audience, and try to win some of them over.  Fore more information, see Air Actions, Navajo Nation.  

Carbon Capture – Sample Letter/Email

NOx Emissions from NGS – Sample Letter/Email