EPA OKs giant coal plant on Navajo land in New Mexico
After more than four years of deliberation, the U.S. EPA has bestowed an air permit to a proposed 600-acre coal plant on Navajo land in New Mexico. Announcing the step forward for the 1,500-megawatt Desert Rock Power Plant, the EPA noted that Navajo Nation leaders have “staunchly supported” the project since its inception — though failed to mention the tribe members who blockaded the project in protest in Dec. 2006. Navajo land is already home to two gigantic coal plants; while the EPA promises that Desert Rock “will be one of the cleanest pulverized coal-burning power plants in the country,” that really ain’t sayin’ much. “EPA’s irresponsible, inappropriate decision has failed Navajo communities and needlessly sacrificed our air, land, and water,” says Dailan Long of local advocacy group Diné CARE. “It is a devastating blow to tribal members who continually suffer from the large coal complex encroaching upon our land.” Gov. Bill Richardson says he will challenge the permit in court.