Clearing the air on the Colorado Plateau




It's decision time for the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission, the group charged with restoring clean air to the five-state Colorado Plateau. Congress established the commission, which includes five Western governors and industry and environmental representatives, in 1991, allowing it five years to develop a plan to reduce air pollution (HCN, 6/28/93). After a final round of hearings this spring, the commission will send its recommendations to the EPA. But environmental groups, such as the Arizona-based Grand Canyon Trust, fear the recommendations will be toothless. Because the Colorado Plateau suffers from dirty air 90 percent of the time, drastic action is required, says Trust president Geoffrey Barnard. The culprits, he points out, include smog from cities such as Los Angeles and coal-fired power plants.

Grand Canyon Superintendent Roger Amberger said he recently visited the Mohave Power Station 50 miles upwind of the national park and was amazed by the size of its plume. "It really shook me," he reported, "and Mohave is still there, still in denial, enveloped in excuses, saying, "We can delay this for another 10 years." "

The commission will host public hearings April 9-17 in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming and Washington, D.C. For complete information, call the commission at 303/623-9378.

*Bill Taylor

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