The San Juan Basin is home to three coal-fired power plants, including the largest point source of air pollution in the country. The impacts from these antiquated, behemoth industrial sites cannot be understated. Intense air pollution, waterways contaminated with mercury and other heavy metals, climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions – the list goes on and on. In addition to the damage being done to our air, land, and water, our communities are experiencing irreversible health impacts.
The Alliance works tirelessly to shut down these mega-polluters and help create an energy plan for the Four Corners built on clean energy technologies.
What we are working on now:
Four Corners Power Plant and Navajo Mine
The Department of the Interior Office of Surface Mining is currently reviewing plans to extend Four Corners Power Plant (FCPP) operating permits through 2041. To date, their health and environmental impact analysis of such an extension has been grossly deficient. A final Environmental Impact Statement is expected in 2015. The Alliance will continue to demand accurate representation of health and environmental impacts as well as a robust analysis of alternative actions – as required by law. Should regulatory agencies fail to follow the letter and intent of those laws, the Alliance is prepared to take legal action to defend our community’s rights.
San Juan Generating Station
The EPA and the state of New Mexico are in active negotiations with San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) shareholders to strengthen the plant’s pollution controls. The most likely path forward – the Alternative State Implementation Plan – would close Units 2 and 3 at SJGS, retiring approximately 915 MW by 2017. The Alliance is concerned about what will replace the unit closures and is working to identify opportunities for renewable energy replacement capacity.
Coal Combustion Waste
Coal combustion waste (CCW), the ashes and sludge left over after burning coal from sites such as FCPP and SJGS, have historically been dumped in excavated coal mines or in impoundments adjacent to the San Juan River. This allows heavy metals, such as mercury and selenium, to leach into adjacent lands and waterways. The EPA is currently considering how to regulate coal combustion waste and the Alliance advocates for it to be categorized as hazardous waste.