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EPA New Rules Come Up Short for Older NV Coal Plant

April 4, 2012

LAS VEGAS - The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new air pollution limits for the Reid Gardner coal-fired power plant, but opponents say they fall far short of protecting public health.

William Anderson, chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, says the proposal is another in a long line of disappointing rulings, from both federal and state agencies. In this case, he says, the EPA is proposing the bare minimum for new pollution controls for nitrogen oxide emissions for the 45-year-old facility.

"We were hoping it would be more, tighter regulations. We're trying to go ahead and promote clean energy and breathe clean air. To me, it's nothing new. I was hoping something would be better - but unfortunately, it didn't turn out the way we wanted."

The EPA proposes installing "non-catalytic reduction controls" at Reid Gardner, which it says will reduce emissions. Anderson says his tribe will ask the state Public Utilities Commission to simply retire the plant instead.

If the old plant is to be allowed to keep operating, says Jane Feldman, conservation chairwoman for the Sierra Club's Southern Nevada Group, it should be required to use more modern, "selective catalytic reduction" technology.

"If they would use the best technology available, they could clean it up three times more than what Region 9 is telling them is OK. So, we are incredibly disappointed."

If the new regulations go forward, Feldman says, the end result will be spending more money on an old plant which will continue to emit pollution at levels high enough to affect people's health.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV