EPA proposes compromise on Navajo Generating Station's emissions

Haze from the Arizona power plant can be seen at many Southwest parks and wilderness areas. The EPA proposes giving it five extra years to lower emissions, which could save tribal members' jobs.

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing regulations to reduce emissions from the massive Navajo Generating Station by as much as 84%, in a compromise that would give the plant's operators more time to install scrubbers and would ease the economic impact on two Native American tribes.

Situated in northern Arizona, less than 20 miles from the Grand Canyon, the generating station is the source of haze viewed by tourists at nearly a dozen parks and wilderness areas in the Southwest.

The EPA's proposed rules would allow the 2,250-megawatt plant until 2023 to install pollution controls to meet emissions standards mandated by a Regional Haze Rule. The plant is one of the largest sources of harmful nitrogen oxide emissions in the country, but the agency is proposing to add five years to the compliance date in response to concerns by Navajo and Hopi tribes, EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld said.

"It's a deserving compromise, given the real economic threats that face the tribal nations," Blumenfeld said, calling the issue the most complicated he'd ever dealt with. "We wanted to provide enough time to work out the economics so that the facility remains open."

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