Navajo nation at odds over coal-plant plan
Members of the Navajo nation are at odds over a plan to build a $3 billion, 1,500-megawatt coal-fired power plant on reservation land in New Mexico. Tribal leaders say the plant — whose juice would go to Las Vegas and Phoenix — will generate $50 million in much-needed annual revenue and create 400 permanent jobs. But worried opponents, both within and outside the Navajo nation, say the project will pose health risks to those who live nearby, while adding to global warming. The reservation is already home to one coal-fired plant that, along with another plant nearby, has made its air among the worst in New Mexico; one critic said the federal stance amounts to “things are so bad already that you won’t even notice another power plant.” But coal is taking lumps around the U.S., as some recognize its drawbacks — the nation’s top 50 CO2-emitting power plants, identified on a list issued this week, are all coal-fired — and acknowledge that “clean-coal” technology isn’t ready for prime time.