Desert Rock comment

First posted
Wednesday February 18, 2009 09:47
Tuesday June 16, 2009 06:15

Coal primary page.

Coal Other Articles page.

Comment requested by Mike Eisenfeld New Mexico Energy Coordinator San Juan Citizens Alliance

Saturday June 13, 2009 17:26

Ash cloud released at Four Corners Power Plant.


Posted: 06/11/2009 12:00:00 AM MDT

FRUITLAND — Equipment failures at the Four Corners Power Plant on Tuesday caused the release of an undetermined amount of black ash from the site, a power plant spokesman confirmed.

Particulate ash composed of pulverized coal clouded the air surrounding the Fruitland power plant Tuesday morning after equipment designed to retain the coal unexpectedly shut down, spokesman Nathan Tohtsoni said. ...

The 2,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant operated by the Arizona Public Service Company reports its emissions and pollution levels to the federal Environmental Protection Agency office in San Francisco four times each year.

Thursday May 14, 2009 10:56

Has the Plug Been Pulled on Cap and Trade? comment.

Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR. That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse.

Mark Twain

The fight over the proposed Desert Rock plant has turned into an epic battle that has come to involve state, federal and tribal governments and a whole lot of lawyers.

It has also come to involve Long, who was on a path to medical school a few thousand miles away when he heard about Desert Rock and felt a stab at his heart that brought him home.

Long and I are having coffee on a stormy Saturday at the convenience store, the only place there is to meet in the vicinity of Burnham, which its about 30 miles south of Farmington, 12 miles off the main road.

He's explaining that he found out about Desert Rock purely by accident when he was looking for a topic for a research paper for an environmental justice class in his sophomore year at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

He called home and asked, "Is there a power plant going in there?"

No one had heard of Desert Rock. "We had no idea what was going on, completely out of the loop," he says.

That changed quickly. His Grandma Lucy and Grandma Sarah got busy organizing against the plant, forming a group whose name in the Navajo language means ''No Desert Rock." They encouraged Long to pitch in.

Long switched his major from pre-med to Native American studies and, while he pursued his degree back East, he used the phone and e-mail to help their resistance efforts and to work with a long-standing Navajo environmental group, Diné CARE. Other Dartmouth students lazed at home or on tropical beaches during Christmas break, but Long came home and camped out as part of a community blockade of the road into the proposed power plant site.

Long wasn't an instant critic of the plant. He was raised in a family that was supported by power plant jobs (two other power plants sit within a few miles of the proposed plant and feed many a Navajo family). But as he studied the

I potential effects, he became convinced the plant would be ~ad for air and water in the region and an assault on the land where his mother's family has lived for generations.

"I realized that Desert Rock was a case study of energy production at the expense of unknowledgeable people," he says.

A coalition of groups opposing the project has managed to delay rights of way for the transmission' lines that would carry the power to homes in Arizona and Nevada. And the Environmental Protection Agency handed the groups a big victory a few weeks ago when it asked to review the air quality permit it had issued for the plant.

Long has organized community meetings, appeared at rallies and public hearings and on radio shows and written critiques of the project.

He also took part in an alternative-energy 'study, which concluded that the Navajo Nation could benefit from wind and solar power. These days, he's going from one chapter house to another, explaining the study and asking communities to throw their support behind alternative energy.

After he graduated in 2007, Long moved home with his parents and siblings and returned to the life he knew as a kid, herding sheep, hauling water and wood - a world away from the Ivy League. Unlike some of his Dartmouth friends who have gone to jobs in hedge funds and to medical school and law school, Long is enjoying the peace and quiet of reservation life.

"When my friends are traveling to Paris and they say, 'You should come meet us there,' I'm like, 'I can barely get home on my gas tank.'"

Even though he is studying for the MCAT exams and plans to apply to medical schools, Long says he'll stay committed to the Desert Rock issue until it is resolved.

"I feel that the community has called me to be here and has entrusted me to do this work," he says.

UpFront is a daily front-page opinion column. You can reach Leslie at 823-3914 or

Albuquerque Journal Thursday May 14, 2009

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Bob Collins"
To: "Cargill Hall",
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 9:19:30 AM GMT -08:00 Tijuana / Baja California
Subject: FW: Global Warming

Subject: Global Warming

Good Reading


Tuesday April 28, 2009 08:51

The Plug In Vehicle Scam comment.
Listen up America – It's a scam! The emperor has no clothes! There is no such thing as a cost-effective electric vehicle that will carry a family of four at highway speeds. But the cautionary if not downright conservative analysis from sources as diverse and credible as the Department of Energy, the White House and Carnegie Mellon University somehow manages to get lost in a media sideshow that focuses on scientific breakthroughs that promise a 5-minute recharge time for batteries nobody can afford to buy.

Questions about large scale solar electric energy.

POSTED: 5:30 pm MDT April 27, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is asking an appeals board to allow the agency to reconsider an air permit for a planned coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation in northwestern New Mexico.

Regional EPA officials want to reconsider the parts of the Desert Rock Energy Project air permit that were appealed to the Environmental Appeals Board after the permit was issued last July.

Saturday April 18, 2009 10:54

The coal industry is mounting a media attack on altenergy through ABEC.

Truth appears to be that coal has the INPUT BTUs - 8,800 to about 13,000 per pound.

Altenergy appears to have INPUT BTU problems which it is trying to combat with Peterson and Konrad posts.

Peterson and Konrad focus on OUTPUT BTUs.

Billions of dollars are at stake so we must expect, and are getting, a hard media fight.
Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR. That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse.

Mark Twain

"We're very clear," PNM's Wheeler said. "No new coal."
Albuquerque Journal Sunday August 31, 2008

Received Friday April 17, 2009

Wednesday March 11, 2009 07:43
Solar, Wind and Biofuels' Impressive Growth Surge in '08 comment.

Where Is That Mythical Housing Bottom? comment.

[A]ccording to a recent USGS study (Assessment of Coal Geology, Resources and Reserves in the Gillette Coalfield, Powder River Basin, Wyoming, USGS open-file report 2008-1202), the coal reserve estimate for the Gillette coal field is 10.1 billion short tons, which is a mere 5% of the original 200 billion ton resource total. In other words, the USGS has just revised the Gillette resource base down by 95%.

Companies Rethink Coal Plants Mar 09 - USA TODAY

Even as demand for electricity rises, energy companies are delaying or scrapping plans for new coal-burning power plants because of the prospect of restrictions imposed by federal global warming legislation.

Power use in the USA could grow 22% during the next 20 years, according to the Energy Department. To help keep the nation's laptops and TVs humming, dozens of new plants that burn coal -- by far the nation's largest source of electricity -- were in the works.

President Obama and many members of Congress vow to cut U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the major "greenhouse gas" from industrial sources warming the Earth. Coal-burning power plants are the USA's single largest source of carbon dioxide.

Alternative Energy's Sunny Outlook comment.

Buffett on Alt Energy Oh Veh comment.

We are definitely ready for NCUA.

We captured


1 Laws of thermodynamics are tough to repeal
2 HEAT RATE - second law

An email message from Whitman [a liberal arts] College college president Gerorge Bridges.

Money to be made from those who don't understand 1, 2, and 3.

We are going into combat with liberal art graduates. Memorizers, not thinkers.

Payne got a phone call from Americans for Balanced Energy Choices on Monday morning March 9, 2009 to join its efforts. Payne declined but listened.

Powerful business interests are involved in attempting to increase energy production.
Former Astronaut Says Warming Natural: Schmitt Says Issue Politically Driven
Mar 08, 2009 (Albuquerque Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX)

Most climate scientists disagree with Schmitt's assessment. They say warming, especially during the second half of the 20th century, is far too rapid to be explained by anything other than increases of greenhouse gases, which trap heat near Earth's surface. They point to evidence that, while the sun has in the past played a role, recent warming cannot be explained by solar variability.

A recent survey of climate scientists found 97 percent agreed Earth is warming and that human activity has been "a significant factor" in that warming.

----- Forwarded Message -----

From: "Cargill Hall"
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 10:41:20 AM GMT -08:00 Tijuana / Baja California
Subject: Bias in the Academy?

It isn't limited to just the departments of history and political science, now the sciences are under attack by the biased.


Note the scientists and meteorologists who have been silenced, had their grants pulled, or asked to resign -- toward the end of this article.



Some of us might look to the presidents of universities—the supposed bastions of free scientific inquiry—to sound an alarm about this kind of treatment of scholars. But that would be expecting too much. Indeed, 614 university and college chancellors and presidents have signed a statement saying that global warming is “largely being caused by humans,” and that they “recognize the need to reduce the global emission of greenhouse gases by 80 percent by mid-century at the latest” and to “reestablish the more stable climatic conditions that have made human progress over the last 10,000 years possible.”

Jane Shaw looks to be liberal arts educated.

Here's a Friday afternoon March 6, 2009 conversation with Mike Eisenfeld of San Juan Citizens Alliance about efforts to stop Desert Rock coal-fired electric generation plant in New Mexico.

We are ready for NUCA.
Security Savings Bank, Henderson, NV February 27, 2009. We have a CD at 3% with Security Savings Bank with one month to go on contract. Got a phone call Tuesday morning about this. We will report real-world experience of getting money back.

The FDIC Is Broke...Or Will Be Soon comment.

2009 Depression Will Be Nothing Like 1929 comment.

Payne decided it wise to switch credit unions after SLFCU CEO Jillson stole $11, 018.00 from his retirement-protected saving account.

This involved switching bank electronic account numbers.

Prudential, for Sandia Labs retirement check, got it right on the first attempt.

TIAA/CREF, for Washington State University retirement check, got it right on second try.

Social Security, on the other hand, took about 4 months numerous phone calls, ALL OF WHICH WERE RECORDED IN DIGITAL MP3 FORMAT, to get the missing October check.

Kevin, of the new credit union, commented on Friday February 27, 2009 that it was lucky that we were able to make it financially without receiving the check.

Morales was informed that his family was denied Social Security benefits as a result of our legal action with the federal government.

Morales reported that he was told a computer screen containing our legal activities appeared when a member of his family applied for a benefit.

Now appears the time to investigate this claim.

Payne already started the investigation with a RECORDED phone conversation with Social Security concerning what information is presented in a social security check file.

Let's switch to a written investigation of why it took about 4 months to get Payne's October 2008 Social Security check.

Incompetence, coupled with deficient education, may be the answer.

We did not hear from Joe Lapka of EPA as of the close of business on Monday March 2, 2009.


Tuesday March 3, 2009 08:58
Global warming activists stormed Washington Monday for what was billed as the nation's largest act of civil disobedience to fight climate change -- only to see the nation's capital virtually shut down by a major winter storm. ..

"I admit, it's hard to tweet with cold hands!" wrote the author of the Capitol Climate Action Web site, who said the activists were "staying warm with a chant: 'Clean coal is a dirty lie.'"

The plant has been seized as a symbol of the government's energy excess, and the 99-year-old facility accounts for a third of the legislative branch's greenhouse gas emissions.

Protesters gathered earlier Monday in the Spirit of Justice Park near the Capitol and marched a few blocks to the power plant, where D.C. police set up a careful cordon.

In a press release supporting the protest, Greenpeace wrote that "coal is the country's biggest source of global warming pollution" and that "burning coal cuts short at least 24,000 lives in the U.S. annually."

On a blustery, frigid day, it might be worth noting the government's own stark numbers: pneumonia kills twice as many each year.

The Plain Truth About Glorious Carbon Dioxide comment.

Black Mesa coal.

Friday February 27, 2009 07:51
New Home Sales at Record Lows comment.

Obama Budget Includes Shift To Green Energy comment.

Alternative Energy Is a Giant Capital Pit, Kedrosky Says: "There's No There There"

Ed B - Thursday February 26, 2009 11:59AM EST

It's even worse. As the existing Coal power plants come off line this power needs to be replaced. 50% of your power is from coal - 50% of that 50% are over their useful life span of 30 years. Between Coal and Nuclear power you have 70% of our present energy sources represented. Add in Natural Gas and you're up to 92%. we are using alternatives to produce about 8% (includes hydro power). I sincerely doubt that you can replace the present system with something that hasn't even been invented yet. We're so screwed......

We did some "media type" person investigation on the phone, with mp3 recorder working of course, on Friday February 20, 2009afternoon.

Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR. That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse.

Mark Twain

We discovered the AP media person in charge of shaping Desert Rock msm media.

Housing Crisis Is Key to Economic Recovery comment.

-----Original Message-----
From: bill payne []
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2009 9:10 AM
Cc: Wheeler, Evelin; Randy Gunn; Brent Barkett; Randy Gunn; O'Connell, Pat; Jill M. Roelle; Carla J. Sonntag; Brown, Don; Amorales58@Comcast.Net;;;;;;
Subject: I am writing to you in response to the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 request ...

Mr Lapka

Please give me an email ack if you get this.

Thanks in advance.

Bill Payne

Coal ranching commentS.

Life After Coal: Coming Sooner than You Think new comment.
----- Forwarded Message -----
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2009 5:28:30 AM GMT -08:00 Tijuana / Baja California
Subject: A phd? In what?

I am having some fun.

Why haven't I got a response to my application???


Is Alternative Energy Dead? comment.

Friday February 20, 2009 08:33

Mr. Joe Lapka
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Region 9
75 Hawthorne Street (Air-3)
San Francisco, California 94105
(415) 947-4226
Fax: (415) 947-3579

Dear Mr. Lapka:

I am writing to you in response to the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 request for public comment on revisions to its basis for issuing a Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit (AZP 04-01) authorizing construction of the Desert Rock Energy Facility (Desert Rock) 1,500 MW coal fired power plant on Navajo Nation land southwest of Farmington, New Mexico.

San Juan Citizens Alliance wrote in a suggested letter

First and foremost, I believe that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases and should impose strict controls on the proposed Desert Rock emissions of 12.7 million tons per year of carbon dioxide. Please revise the entire Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit for Desert Rock to evaluate control technologies for carbon dioxide emissions.

Secondly, please immediately rescind the December 18, 2008 Johnson Memorandum which runs counter to Mass v. EPA and therefore illegally set forth the notion that the EPA does not have to consider limitations on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The outgoing Bush administration set forth the rationale for not limiting carbon dioxide emissions for coal-fired power plants.

The new administration has the opportunity to set the Environmental Protection Agency on the right course in overseeing environmental policies and public health protection that address greenhouse gas emissions. I believe that the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to limit greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants and so does the U.S. Supreme Court. We cannot afford to permit new coal plants that would vastly increase carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. Southwest.

We are concerned about the acceptance of reasons for increased CO2 levels and "global warming" as being accepted facts, particularly by those who do not have appropriate technical backgrounds.

Albuquerque senior citizen is reported to have said

Former astronaut scoffs at global warming

Tom Sharpe | The New Mexican 2/14/2009

Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, one of the last men to walk on the moon and a former U.S. senator from New Mexico, doesn't buy the idea that humans are causing global warming.

"I don't think the human effect is significant compared to the natural effect," he said. ...

"As a geologist, I love Earth observations," he wrote in his Nov. 14 resignation letter. "But, it is ridiculous to tie this objective to a 'consensus' that humans are causing global warming when human experience, geologic data and history, and current cooling can argue otherwise.

" 'Consensus,' as many have said, merely represents the absence of definitive science. You know as well as I, the 'global warming scare' is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the Society's activities." ...

In a Saturday interview, Schmitt expounded on what he called "indisputable facts" that global warming is the result of natural, rather than man-made, causes. He said historical documents indicate average temperatures have risen by 1 degree per century since around 1400 A.D., and the rise in carbon dioxide is because of the temperature rise.

As for rises in sea levels, Schmitt said, geological evidence indicates major changes have been going on for thousands of years. Smaller changes in sea level are related to changes in the elevation of land masses, he said. For example, he said, the Great Lakes are rising because their bottoms are rising because the crust of the earth is rebounding from being depressed by glaciers. ...

"In Antarctica, it looks like the total volume (of ice) is increasing and if that's true, that's probably why you're getting increased ice moving away from the center of the continent and therefore these big icebergs and stuff are breaking off," he said.

Although Greenland's glaciers receded for decades, Schmitt said, they began advancing again around 2005.

Schmitt grew up in Silver City, graduated with a science degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1957, studied geology at the University of Oslo in Norway and took a doctorate in geology from Harvard University in 1964. ...


Our conclusion is that the Desert Rock Energy Facility permit should be DENIED for ENVIRONMENTAL reasons other than CO2 and toxic emissions.

Our conclusion is based on information acquired at the PNM Integrated Resources Planning meetings and Internet postings.

Failure to state a VALID REASON for construction for Desert Rock Energy Facility and assess possible enviromental damage for this increased electrical production in both New Mexico and Arizona are missing.

Stated reason

The Desert Rock Energy Facility: A Cleaner Coal Power Plant.

Overview In 2004, Sithe Global Power, LLC proposed construction of the Desert Rock Energy Facility, a new coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation tribal reservation, approximately 25 miles southwest of Farmington, New Mexico. The proposed plant is expected to produce substantial economic benefits for the Navajo people. ...

The Desert Rock facility will be among the cleanest pulverized coal-burning power plants in the U.S. The permitting process involved the completion of comprehensive technical studies to ensure that pollution levels under the permit safeguard public health and the environment, and that the existing air quality will not deteriorate as a result of the plant. ...
does not appear to address the issue of WHY the additional electricity is needed or its environmental impact on New Mexico and Arizona.

PNM electric load forecaster Steve Martin identified reasons for projected increases in electric demand on August 21, 2007.



Martin, leaving the floor after his presentation, is identified by red check.

New construction is the primary reason for increased electric load demand in New Mexico according to Martin.

Desert Rock electricity apparently will be generated in New Mexico, shipped by wire, and hopefully sold to Arizona to presumably supply demand created by new construction.

FOIL 4 projects electric use increase between 2008 and 2026 of about 8,000 to over 12,000 GWh in New Mexico.

Perhaps a similar increase in Arizona is projected too?

We are concerned that these projected increases in electric demand are environmentally unhealthy for the reason that it places stress on the environment, such as coal from Desert Rock, to satisfy need for electricity and water.

On the other hand, dire predictions such as
"Have you told them the lights might go out in 2011 or 2012?" she asked.

Brogan said it felt as though Maryland was standing by itself shouting about the problem, but Kormos assured her that the other states are worried, and that Washington is very aware of the difficulties the area would have if the predicted rolling brownouts and blackouts became a reality.

Thu Oct 02 01:00:00 CDT 2008 A new study released this week highlights what experts have been saying for years: the U.S. faces significant risk of power brownouts and blackouts as early as next summer that may cost tens of billions of dollars and threaten lives.

The study, "Lights Out In 2009?" warns that the U.S. "faces potentially crippling electricity brownouts and blackouts beginning in the summer of 2009, which may cost tens of billions of dollars and threaten lives." ...
may not occur for the reason of our current economic real estate recessed or depressed situation.

If new construction is limited in the future because of economic reasons, then it is possible that Desert Rock electricity may not have a market.

Sithe Global Power, LLC which proposes construction of the Desert Rock Energy Facility states:
In October 2005, The Blackstone Group ("Blackstone") joined Reservoir Capital and purchased a controlling (approximately 80%) equity share in Sithe Global.

If Black Rock is unable to sell its electricity because of falling electricity demand, then this could spell further losses to Blackstone Group BX investors who are currently not doing well.

EPA's charter states

1.3 Purpose and functions.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permits coordinated and effective governmental action to assure the protection of the environment by abating and controlling pollution on a systematic basis. Reorganization Plan 3 of 1970 transferred to EPA a variety of research, monitoring, standard setting, and enforcement activities related to pollution abatement and control to provide for the treatment of the environment as a single interrelated system.

Our conclusion, based on is statements in this letter to you is that EPA in the case of Desert Rock EPA has violated its charter by failing to render "enforcement activities related to pollution abatement and control to provide for the treatment of the environment as a single interrelated system" by not considering possible damage caused to the environment as result of possible new construction in Arizona which may be unserviceable for electric energy and water shortages reasons in the future.

Appearance has been created by this violation of charter that EPA has, in fact, improperly favored Arizona new construction industry by initially permitting Desert Rock and then by issuing a Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit (AZP 04-01) authorizing construction of the Desert Rock Energy Facility (Desert Rock) without explanation of why the new electricity is needed or the damage done to the environment, both in New Mexico and Arizona, by possible new construction.

EPA's failure, in the case of Desert Rock, to follow its own rules, we feel, have voided the permitting process.

Therefore, we ask that EPA deny Desert Rock permit for failure of EPA to follow its own rules and possible EPA collusion with Arizona new construction industry for an attempt to improperly obtain that permit.

If EPA does not grant this request, then please inform us of any appeals processes as well as procedures for filing complaints against those at EPA may have been improperly involved with Arizona new construction interests in the permitting process.

Please respond by
March 2, 2009.


William H Payne
14015 Calle de Sandias NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111


Mike Eisenfeld
San Juan Citizens Alliance;

Darrin Swartz-Larson

Lillie Lane

Gretchen Hoffman
Senior Coal Geologist, Database Coordinator
New Mexico Bureau of Geology

Martin, Elizabeth, New Mexico PRC

Monday March 2, 2009 08:57

Sunday February 22, 2009 06:47

Sithe Global.

EPA How We Write Regulations: An Online Brochure.
2. Analyze the Problem. The workgroup begins by developing a work plan that will guide the regulatory development process. This plan is called an Analytic Blueprint and outlines the major questions that must be answered, the data needed, the experts who should be consulted, the anticipated costs, and other rulemaking needs. EPA's senior management provides guidance on the Analytic Blueprint early in the process at a meeting called Early Guidance. After the Early Guidance meeting, the workgroup uses its Analytic Blueprint to begin studying the problem. We may draw information from EPA's research, scientific literature, other government agencies, or other researchers in the United States and abroad.
How a Coal-fired Power Plant works.

Fossil-fuel power plant.

The Need for Additional U.S. Coal-Fired Power Plants.
VII. Permitting Obstacles

Permitting a new coal-fired electric generating unit is complicated, expensive, time consuming, and financially risky. The number of required permits varies, but typically, over 50 permits are required, including air emissions, water consumption and discharge, waste disposal, road access, and transmission lines. However, usually, the most demanding permitting task involves the New Source Review (NSR) air permit. A NSR air permit must be secured prior to beginning construction of a new unit.

Plant construction cannot begin until this key permit is obtained. The developer of a new coal-fired unit must prepare and submit a permit application that addresses all the essential elements of the applicable NSR permitting requirements. The NSR permit has detailed requirements that generally include:

Preliminary engineering to define plant performance and design to support the permit submittals.

A comprehensive analysis of the available coal boiler emission control technologies.

Detailed computer ambient air impact modeling to demonstrate that the project will not cause or contribute to a violation of a national ambient air quality standard.

Preparation of the permit application and supporting reports.

Responses to state and federal agencies questions.

Participation in public meetings, including presentation of expert testimony.

In addition, environmental activists and other groups often file legal challenges, either during the permit review process or after this key permit is issued, that contest the state or federal agency action or the plant developer's proposed design, which the plant developer must settle in court. These legal challenges are often directed at the plant emissions being higher than the permitting requirements for "Best Available Control Technology (BACT)" or "Lowest Achievable Emission Rate (LAER)." These permitting requirements are not specific values, but are concepts that are open to debate. As a result, complicated technical, legal, political, and other issues are raised that extend the permitting, agency review, public hearings, and legal process.

Recently, a minimum of about 24 months was required by one project to obtain these permits, but another project is still pursuing the needed permits after 36 months. The expense for the NSR varies considerably, but ranges between $15 million and $30 million. The extended time required for the NSR and other permits, and the associated large permitting expense, represents a major financial risk to building new highly efficient coal-fired power plants.

The regulations governing the appeal process are at 40 CFR 124.19.

February 12, 2009 Public Notice regarding the Environmental Appeals Board's decision to grant review of the Desert Rock PSD Permit

February 12, 2009 Public Notice (PDF) (2 pp, 20K) (Published in the Navajo Times, Farmington Daily Times, Durango Herald, and Arizona Republic)

Petitions submitted to the EAB, and EPA's Response Brief (additional documents are available in the EAB Docket) Petition from Leslie Glustrom (PDF) (59pp, 1.3M)
Petition from NGO Petitioners (PDF) (311pp, 1.8M)
Petition from the State of New Mexico (PDF) (51pp, 2.3M)
Petition from Center for Biological Diversity (PDF) (33pp, 1.3M)
EPA's January 8, 2009 Response Brief (PDF) (144pp, 580K)

The Region 9 office of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hereby announces grant of review by the U.S. EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) of a Federal Clean Air Act permit for the Desert Rock Energy Facility. With one exception, any interested person may file an amicus brief in the pending permit challenge with regard to the issues raised in four petitions that were previously submitted to the EAB; the four petitions are available on EPA’s website at the address provided at the end of this notice. The exception pertains to EPA’s previous decision not to impose limitations on emissions of carbon dioxide in the permit. EPA is accepting public comments on that issue through February 23, 2009 (see EPA’s website for more information) and the EAB has stayed further consideration of the issue pending a final determination from EPA. Interested parties who wish to submit briefs on the issues currently under consideration by the EAB should submit them to one of the following addresses, based on the method of delivery:

Title 40: Protection of Environment


1.3 Purpose and functions.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permits coordinated and effective governmental action to assure the protection of the environment by abating and controlling pollution on a systematic basis. Reorganization Plan 3 of 1970 transferred to EPA a variety of research, monitoring, standard setting, and enforcement activities related to pollution abatement and control to provide for the treatment of the environment as a single interrelated system. Complementary to these activities are the Agency's coordination and support of research and antipollution activities carried out by State and local governments, private and public groups, individuals, and educational institutions. EPA reinforces efforts among other Federal agencies with respect to the impact of their operations on the environment.

TITLE 40--Protection of Environment

Perhaps EPA might get the idea that it should work at cleaning up Four Corners and San Juan before embarking on Desert Rock?

Mercury pollution in New Mexico lakes caused by San Juan, Four Corners and Escalante is a serious problem, especially for us bass and walleye fishermen who eat what we catch.

Surface Water Quality Bureau Fish Consumption Advisories in New Mexico.
New Mexico's Department of Health, the Department of Game & Fish, and New Mexico State Parks have teamed up with the Environment Department to issue several fish consumption advisories concerning total DDT in Brantley Reservoir, PCBs in Abiquiu and Cochiti Reservoirs as well as in the Rio Grande, and statewide advisories for several reservoirs concerning mercury in fish tissues.

Below is junior citizen Robert fishing Abiquiu lake.

NRDC: Learn About Mercury and Its Effects
Once mercury enters a waterway, naturally occurring bacteria absorb it and convert it to a form called methyl mercury. This transition is particularly significant for humans, who absorb methyl mercury easily and are especially vulnerable to its effects....

Humans risk ingesting dangerous levels of mercury when they eat contaminated fish. Since the poison is odorless, invisible and accumulates in the meat of the fish, it is not easy to detect and can't be avoided by trimming off the skin or other parts. Once in the human body, mercury acts as a neurotoxin, interfering with the brain and nervous system. ...

In adults, mercury poisoning can adversely affect fertility and blood pressure regulation and can cause memory loss, tremors, vision loss and numbness of the fingers and toes. A growing body of evidence suggests that exposure to mercury may also lead to heart disease.

Coal-fired power plants emit 48 tons of mercury every year.

Currently there are few anthropogenic sources of methylmercury pollution other than as an indirect consequence of the burning of wastes containing inorganic mercury and from the burning of fossil fuels, particularly coal.

Sunday June 15, 2008 field trip.

Four corners coal-fired power plant as seen from San Juan coal-fired electric generation plant, heading south.

Note toxic brown cloud drifting to the west.

Billboard erected at intersection of Shiprock-Farmington highway [NM 64] and State Road 6800 to the San Juan coal-fired electric generation plant.

"americans living near coal-fired power plants"