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Desert Rock Coal Plant Challenge

Case Overview

Earthjustice is representing conservation and citizen groups in challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to approve an air quality permit for construction of the Desert Rock Energy Facility, a 1,500-megawatt coal-fired power plant on Navajo land in northwest New Mexico. Among the issues are inadequate analysis of and control requirements for Desert Rock's particulate matter, mercury, ozone precursor, and carbon dioxide emissions, and failure to consult with wildlife agencies regarding potential impacts on endangered species.

The coal plant, slated to be built in San Juan County New Mexico, is the nation's sixth largest emitter of carbon dioxide. Desert Rock would add another 12.7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year and raise ozone levels in the area that are already at or near national ambient air quality standard limits. Burning coal at the plant will also add to the high levels of mercury in local rivers and lakes, many of which are already subject to fish-consumption advisories. Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin that can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune systems of people of all ages.

If built, Desert Rock would overwhelm efforts of New Mexico and neighboring states to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and would further poison the air, land, and water of local communities.

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