EPA Protects Public Health, Essential Regional Economic Resource with San Juan Generating Station Ruling

Sierra Club Applauds EPA Action

August 5 - Farmington, NM – The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 6 office today announced its final decision to require the installation of industry-standard pollution controls on the San Juan Generating Station coal-fired power plant near Farmington, New Mexico. The pollution controls will substantially reduce hazardous air pollution from the aging coal-fired power plant, protecting both public health and tourism revenue at nearby National Parks. For years, pollution from the San Juan Generating Station has marred views at National Parks such as the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde, threatening local economies that depend on tourism revenue from park visitors.

The Sierra Club, America’s largest grassroots environmental organization, which has been working with allies in the region to protect public health from the threats posed by the dirty and dangerous San Juan Generating Station, released the following statement in response to today’s EPA announcement:

Statement of Bill Corcoran, Western Region Director, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign

“Pollution from the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station has long jeopardized public health and the economic future of communities throughout the Southwestern United States. Today, the EPA took a bold and necessary stand to protect people and businesses from coal’s toxic pollution.

“The dangerous pollution emitted from the San Juan Generating Station is a serious health hazard for people throughout the Southwest- especially for children and the elderly. San Juan Generating Station currently emits nearly 16,000 tons of nitrogen oxide into the air each year. Nitrogen oxide combines with sunlight, heat and other chemicals in the air to produce ground-level ozone, an invisible chemical the American Lung Association calls “the most widespread pollutant in the U.S. [and] one of the most dangerous.” Ozone pollution causes asthma attacks, respiratory problems, lung damage, and even premature death.

“The same pollution that endangers our health mars our views of National Parks, threatening local economies. When so many small businesses in the region depend on tourists visiting National Parks, sullying that experience is a terrible thing for business. EPA’s ruling to limit pollution from San Juan Generating Station will protect National Park view sheds, and thus local economies.

“The money that Public Service Company of New Mexico will need to spend to install the industry-standard pollution controls demonstrates how the cost of coal is rapidly increasing throughout the country. Coal is a horribly dirty and dangerous fossil fuel and it takes a tremendous toll on our health and pocketbooks each and every day. Especially as clean energy resources such as solar and wind have become more affordable, it is absurd that utilities would continue throwing their customer’s money at an increasingly expensive fossil fuel like coal.

“We thank the EPA for listening to the people who have suffered the effects of the San Juan Generating Station’s pollution for decades and we applaud EPA’s action to hold PNM accountable for the true cost of coal.”

David Graham-Caso

The entire EPA ruling is attached.

Desert Rock
EPA ruling on San Juan Aug 5 2011.pdf601.82 KB