NEW YORK, April 28 U.S. environmental regulators
said they have withdrawn a permit for a massive coal-fired power
plant that had been scheduled to be built on the Navajo Nation to
send electricity to populated areas to the West.
The Environmental Protection Agency late on Monday withdrew the
air permit that was issued last summer for the proposed 1,500
megawatt Desert Rock power plant. Sithe Global Power, LLC had
planned to build the plant in northwestern New Mexico and send its
power to rapidly-growing cities in Arizona and Nevada.
The regulators found the permit was issued before complete
analysis of its emissions and impact on endangered species.
The move was another example of President Barack Obama's
administration cracking down on coal. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
on Monday his agency will try to overturn a Bush administration rule
that made it easier for coal mining companies to dump debris from
mountain-top coal mining into valley streams.
Some Navajos supported building the plant for jobs it would
provide and revenue. The $3 billion to $4 billion project had been
expected to bring the Navajo Nation about $50 million a year.
"Every day this project is delayed, we are losing our Navajo
children to poverty and alcoholism because of lack of opportunity,"
Navajo President Joe Shirley said in a release.
Many other Navajos and environmentalists complained that the
plant would pollute the air in a place where two large coal plants
already operate and that some on the reservation would continue to
go without power as the electricity was sent to the neighboring
Sithe Global has been trying to build the plant for years but
has been stalled by the permits.
It had not yet decided whether it would bury emissions of carbon
dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner, editing by Marguerita Choy)