By Tracy Dingmann
The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public hearing in Farmington tomorrow to determine the scope of a plan to force cleaner operation of the San Juan Generating Station in the Four Corners area.
The San Juan Generating Station is known as one of the dirtiest coal-burning power plants in the nation. The massive 1,848 megawatt coal-fired power plant is owned primarily by Public Service Company of New Mexico, or PNM. The plant, which consists of four coal-fired boilers, is located in northwestern New Mexico near the town of Waterflow.
The power plant is the second largest source of air pollution in New Mexico (right behind the Four Corners power plant). Every year, its air pollution contributes to 33 premature deaths, 600 asthma attacks, 31 asthma-related emergency room visits, and other health impacts, at an estimated cost of more than $254 million.
Its air pollution affects indigenous communities in the region, a number of National Parks and Monuments, and regional smog levels, the nearest being Mesa Verde National Park, which is 30 miles north.
One of the best hopes for cleaning up worsening air quality in the Four Corners region is for the owners of to clean up air pollution from its smokestacks by installing proposed pollution-control upgrades.