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Mohave Closure: EPA Missing in Action in Energy Bill?

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009   

Las Vegas, NV – Nevada saw the Mohave Generating Station throw in the towel this month, and plant operators said the cost of obeying clean-up orders issued by the Environmental Protection Agency was a major factor. Rick Spilsbury is an Ely Shoshone and a member of the Bristlecone Alliance, and is also a supporter of the clean energy bill that would provide incentives to move the nation to cleaner energy sources, such as wind and solar. But Spilsbury is concerned that the current version of the bill removes the EPA's authority to order clean-up of existing coal-fired plants, such as Mohave.

"Well, the EPA has a whole lot to do with what they do and don't pollute. Why would we want to get rid of what regulation we do have, for the possibility of no regulation at all?"

Southern California Edison shut down the coal-fired power plant in 2006. This month they decided to decommission it, rather than spend the 1.1 billion dollars in pollution control upgrades ordered by the EPA. Spilsbury is hoping the American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454) will be amended to restore the EPA's authority.

Delaine Spillsbury has an art business that takes her to many parts of Indian Country, and she has witnessed health problems not just in Nevada, but also in such states as Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. She says her people's suffering is due to the ash piles that are sometimes left on the ground near coal plants.

"Then it leached into the ground from the rainfall. They can't grow gardens anymore; our people are dying from the waste from the coal-fired power plants. "

Spilsbury says without the EPA acting as a watchdog, she is concerned coal plants will base everything on cost and they will revert to practices that pollute the water, air and earth.

Utility companies say the change is needed to keep power prices low.


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