Durango Telegraph - The next targets
The next targets

The clean-air crosshairs are now moving away from Desert Rock and toward two of the region’s and the nation’s biggest polluters. The push is now on for retrofits and cuts in emissions at the Four Corners Power Plant and San Juan Generating Station.

Both of the plants, located just west of Farmington, are under pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency to consider “best available retrofit technology.” Though costly, the upgrades would greatly reduce emissions from the Four Corners Power Plant – the largest emitter of nitrogen oxide in the country – and the San Juan Generating Station – New Mexico’s second largest source of greenhouse gases.

The New Mexico Environment Department is on the verge of renewing the San Juan’s operating permit. However, numerous watchdog groups are objecting on the grounds that carbon dioxide emissions from the 1,600-megawatt plant are not being regulated. In addition, the plant’s CO2 emissions jumped from 11.8 million tons to more than 13.3 million tons between 2008-09, a time when the plant was supposed to be cutting back.

“We’re shifting gears now and looking at the existing plants in the region,” said Mike Eisenfeld, of San Juan Citizens Alliance. “This is one of the first opportunities we have to clean up these older coal-fired power plants that have escaped pollution controls all these years.”

– Will Sands