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Cleaning Up the Four Corners Coal-Fired Power Plant

Case Number # 2044, 2165, 2166

The Four Corners Power Plant burns coal to produce electricity using outdated and ineffective pollution control technology. (Photo courtesy of Ecoflight.)
The Four Corners Power Plant burns coal to produce electricity using outdated and ineffective pollution control technology. (Photo courtesy of Ecoflight.)

Four Corners is the largest single source of air pollution in the state of New Mexico, according the Arizona Public Service's monitoring reports. Every year, Four Corners' five generating units burn over ten million tons of coal, and discharge into the air of the Colorado Plateau approximately 42,000 tons of nitrogen oxides,12,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 1,300 tons of particulate matter.

Pollution from burning coal has been found to contribute to four of the five leading causes of death in the United States, including heart disease, stroke, cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease.

The federal Clean Air Act requires power plant operators who construct or modify a major air pollution source, such as large coal-fired power plants, to install modern pollution controls. The pollution controls must comply with a federal standard called Best Achievable Control Technology (“BACT”). The Four Corners power plant has been modified numerous times since 1985 but has never installed the legally-required pollution control technology.

Earthjustice and the Sierra Club are involved in an ongoing litigation campaign to fight pollution from the Four Corners Power Plant and promote a clean energy future for the Navajo Nation. In collaboration with indigenous environmental justice groups and conservation groups, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club are working to achieve a just transition away from coal-fired generation to investment in renewable energy opportunities.

Press Releases

Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Four Corners Plant in New Mexico is illegally operating outside Clean Air Act, threatening public health
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
California utility may have broken state law in extending life of coal-burning units
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Four Corners coal plant causes haze in Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde and other national parks