Tribe Appeals EPA Ruling Over Coal-Fired Power Plant

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The Moapa Paiutes, represented by Earthjustice, have filed a suit in federal court, appealing a decision that allows a coal-fired power plant in Nevada to continue emitting nitrogen oxide. According to a press release from Earthjustice, the tribe -- along with the Sierra Club and the National Parks Conservation Association -- is calling for retirement of the plant and a "transition to cleaner sources." Here are the details.

* The Reid Gardner Generating Station is a 557-megawatt coal-fueled, steam-electric generating plant. The plant, located near Moapa, Nev., has four operating units and features high efficiency scrubbing systems that allow it to rank among the top 10 plants nationwide for its low sulfur emission rate.

* Reid Gardner is jointly owned by NV Energy and California Department of Water Resources.

* The plant employs approximately 150 people and can produce electricity to serve approximately 335,000 households.

* The suit was filed in 9th Circuit Court, appealing the EPA's decision to allow rates of nitrogen oxide pollution to continue instead of requiring upgrades that would reduce the pollution by 90 percent.

* Nitrogen oxides harm the respiratory system, Earthjustice stated, and form ground-level ozone and fine particulate pollution that can cause heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks and lung cancer.

* The groups stated that if the Reid Gardner power plant cannot be retired right now, then the plant needs to be updated with air pollution equipment.

* According to William Anderson, Chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, the plant -- located "just a couple hundred yards from the homes of Moapa Paiute families" -- has created coal plant soot, chemicals and ash waste that has sickened members of the tribe.

* "We've seen coal at Reid Gardner become too costly to make economic sence," Anderson stated, noting that the plant's owner, NV Energy, won't retire the nearly 50-year-old plant.

* In addition to the Moapa Piutes and the environmental organizations, Reid Gardner has also been opposed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who in August stated that the plant has sent 2.8 million tons of carbon dioxide and thousands of pounds of arsenic, mercury and lead up its "four giant smokestacks."

* Stated that the soot is "literally killing the Paiutes, Reid said at the National Clean Energy Summit 5.0, "it is time to close the dirty relic, Reid Gardner."

* "Somewhere there has to be some justice," Anderson said. "Somewhere there has to be some rational leadership from NV Energy and state utility regulators."

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