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Chris Jordan-Bloch's Blog

Vickie Simmons works at the test station where the new Moapa Paiute solar plant will be built.

In a vote last night, the Nevada Assembly approved SB123, a landmark bill that shifts the state away from coal-fired power. The bill closes Reid Gardner, directs NV Energy to eliminate 800 megawatts of coal-fired power generation from its portfolio, and mandates 350 megawatts of renewable energy development.

Larry Gibson, watching the sun set over a decimated Kayford Mountain.

Imagine for a moment that you live in a beautiful forest. Your home is on the side of a big mountain. All around it are tall trees and elegant flowers. After a long day of work you come home. You are tired. Dinner smells delicious. You smile at your family. Everyone sits down at the dinner table. You are happy.

Suddenly there is a loud noise.

“What was that,” you wonder.

For years, white ash has been blowing across the desert from the Reid Gardner Power Plant right into the homes on the Moapa Paiute Indian Reservation. The Paiutes claim that this ash—the waste from the power plant—is making them sick. The power plant claims that the Paiutes are wrong. This week, a 3-part investigative series from KSNV, the NBC station in Las Vegas, examines the situation in Moapa from three sides. The Paiutes and the power plant each get their say—as does science.

"It's like hell. Living in hell," says Marti Blake, when asked about being neighbors with a coal-fired power plant. "It's filthy, it's dirty, it's noisy, it's unhealthy."

For the past 21 years, Blake has lived across the street from the Cheswick Generating Station in Springdale, PA. A family situation left her trying to find a place quickly, and a simple brick home in the small town only 20 minutes from Pittsburgh seemed fine.

A giant cloud of toxic coal ash is seen blowing at the Moapa River Reservation.

It starts with a warning. Then it's just a matter of which way the wind blows.

In the evening, someone will go from house to house and tell the neighborhood that tomorrow will be a windy day and perhaps, a bad air day. The next afternoon—if the conditions are just wrong—a toxic dust called coal ash picks up from the landfills and slag ponds of the coal-fired Reid Gardner Power Station and heads towards the reservation like a sandstorm.

Today is national Bike to Work Day. In honor of all of you who rode this year, here are a few of our favorite bike videos. Hopefully they will persuade you to keep on pedaling.

The first is the wonderful story of a New York City fire fighter who bikes to work—sometimes with 60 pounds of gear on her back! This was sent to me via campaign manager Kathleen Sutcliffe.

In the words of asthma sufferers, asthma feels:

“Like you’re in a pool of water. You can’t breathe. And when you try to breathe it don’t work.”

“Like you put a pillow over your face and pushed it. It’s horrible! You feel desperate because you can’t breathe.”

“Like you wish you could still be playing outside, where the air could be cleaner.”

For years citizens of California's central valley have been asking for help and Wednesday, if only for a few hours, one of the most influential people in the country listened. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson travelled to a church in Fresno to hear the concerns of the people of the valley and what she heard was troubling to say the least.

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.