Our new EPA overlords are making their presence felt in New Mexico.  EPA pulls the plug on Desert Rock coal-fired power plant

In a dramatic move yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew the air quality permit it issued last summer for the Desert Rock coal-fired power plant, which is slated to be built on the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners region just southwest of Farmington, New Mexico.

Proponents of the cancellation are delighted:

“The EPA was supposed to file their final brief today in opposition to our arguments, but had asked for an extension, so we were hopeful,” Cohen told NMI. “Today, in effect, they agreed with us that EPA had cut corners in issuing the permit last summer. It’s a huge victory for public health and the environment in New Mexico.”

Critics of the cancellation are not:

“I don’t think anyone ever imagined that the new team at EPA would seem to have such little regard for due process or basic notions of fairness,” Holmstead said. “Everyone understands that a new Administration has discretion to change rules and policies prospectively. But I’ve never seen any Administration try to change policies and rules retroactively.”

The people most affected by it:

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley said in a statement the decision was further proof that the U.S. government isn’t “honest and truthful in its dealings with Native America.” Shirley said that the EPA withdrawal of the permit will harm the Navajo people.

“I have people dying every day because of poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, gangs, and the U.S. Government is not there to adequately fund the direct service programs that cater to these needs,” he said.

Shirley concluded by saying that the message from the EPA is that it will hold projects “on Navajo land to standards that may well be impossible to meet — and that wouldn’t be applicable elsewhere.”

I think he’s wrong about that last statement.  Obama has said he wants to price coal-fired energy out of existence.  New Mexico just happened to offer the first opportunity.

Advertisements