Mohave agrees to clean up its act
The view from the rim of the Grand Canyon
will be clearer, thanks to a major cleanup at one of the
Southwest's largest coal-burning power plants. Owners of the Mohave
Generating Station in southern Nevada and environmental groups
announced the news Oct. 3, following a court
"This is a big win for the
environment both in the Mohave Valley and the Grand Canyon area. It
means that one of the dirtiest power plants in the Southwest will
become one of the cleanest," says Rob Smith of the Sierra Club,
which sued alongside the Grand Canyon Trust, claiming the plant was
violating the Clean Air Act.
40,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and 10,000 tons of soot into the air
annually and is a major contributor to the pollution obscuring the
Grand Canyon 75 miles to the east (HCN, 3/2/98). The settlement
assures that by 2006, Southern California Edison, the majority
owner of Mohave, will spend $300 million on filters and scrubbers
that will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 85 percent and
particulates by 99 percent.
The company's other
option is to close the plant, but that is unlikely, since the deal
will improve Edison's competitive position in a deregulated market
and avoid years of litigation. "We had made a commitment to install
controls last December," says Nader Monsour of Southern California
Edison, adding that the settlement will just accelerate the work
and increase some controls.
Rick Moore with the
Grand Canyon Trust points out that Edison announced its plan only
after environmentalists sued: "The reality is that if we hadn't
filed the lawsuit, nobody would be talking about cleaning that
plant up today."