Sept 26 (Reuters) - U.S. environmental regulators will hold public hearings in November on proposals to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions at the giant Navajo coal-fired plant in Arizona.
The 2,250-megawatt Navajo plant is located on the Navajo Nation, less than 20 miles (32 km) from the Grand Canyon, near Page, Arizona and the Utah state line.
In a release Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the public can comment on plans to reduce emissions, including an EPA plan proposed in February and a plan proposed by the plant’s owners and others in July.
In February, the EPA proposed the owners install pollution control equipment expected to cost about $1 billion to reduce Navajo’s visibility impacts on 11 national parks and wilderness areas by 73 percent.
As part of that proposal, EPA asked the public to submit alternative scenarios that would achieve greater visibility benefits through different mechanisms.
In response, a coalition of stakeholders submitted an alternative that establishes a lifetime cap in nitrogen emissions, accommodates different future ownership scenarios, and ensures greater emission reductions than the EPA’s initial proposal.
The coalition, known as the Technical Work Group, is composed of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Gila River Indian Community, Navajo Nation, the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement District, the Department of the Interior and Western Resources Advocates.
“These creative alternatives achieve greater emissions reductions at Navajo while giving tribes and owners more flexibility,” Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a release.
Navajo is co-owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Salt River Project, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Pinnacle West Capital Corp’s Arizona Public Service, NV Energy Inc’s Nevada Power Company and UniSource Energy Corp Tucson Electric Power.
EPA said it will hold public hearings to explain the different options for Navajo during the week of Nov. 12 with comments on the proposals due by Jan. 6, 2014.