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FARMINGTON–The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has plans to reduce emissions at two New Mexico power plants.
A public hearing will be held Thursday at San Juan College in Farmington to discuss proposed pollution controls on the San Juan Generating Station’s coal-fired units to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by about 83 percent. Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities owns a part of the San Juan Generating Station. Public Service Company of New Mexico said the EPA plan likely would cost $1 billion or more to implement and would boost electric rates for customers.
The 1,800-megawatt plant — which is New Mexico’s single largest source of electricity — would have three years to install controls.
Furthermore, Federal officials unveiled a plan Friday to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions at the Four Corners Power Plant where the Arizona Public Service four months ago proposed installing strict pollution-control measures. Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest proposal, smog-causing nitrogen oxides would be reduced from 45,000 tons per year to 5,800 tons per year, a reduction of 3,200 fewer tons from the federal agency’s initial plan.
The EPA said the latest plan would reduce emissions by 87 percent, rather than 80 percent as initially proposed.
The agency is seeking public comment through May 2 and announced plans to stage four public hearings during the week of March 28 in the Four Corners area.
“The new proposal controls emissions better, while costing less and preserving jobs,” EPA regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld said.
An APS spokesman said the utility was reviewing the latest EPA proposal and had no immediate comment.
“This plant is the nation’s largest source of nitrogen oxides,” Blumenfeld said. “By reducing its emissions by 87 percent, rather than our initial proposal of 80 percent, we will all be able to see the results and breathe cleaner, healthier air.”
Activist groups have complained that smog in the region has decreased visibility and harmed the experience for visitors at nearby attractions such as Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.
The Navajo Nation Council is scheduled to meet next week in a special session to consider extending the lease for the Four Corners plant by 25 years. The lease currently is set to expire in 2016.