decommissioning good news, greens say
By Cindy Yurth, Navajo
Times, June 14, 2007
CHINLE - Southern California Edison's
recent announcement that it will abandon efforts to
sell the Mohave Generating Station may be bad news for
Peabody Western Coal Co., but it's good news for local
environmentalists who are pushing a "Just Transition"
to clean power.
"One more nail in the coffin of
the dirtiest coal plant in the West," exulted Andy
Bessler, coordinator of the Sierra Club's Environmental
SCE's announcement was followed by the
U.S. Office of Surface Mining's decision to suspend
work on an environmental impact statement that had envisioned
the plant - and the Black Mesa Mine that supplied its
coal - would resume operation someday.
That means more eyes will be trained
on the efforts of a partnership of environmental groups
known as the Just Transition Coalition.
The coalition wants profits from the
sale of Mohave's pollution credits - earned when it
stopped operating in December 2005 - to be put toward
the development of wind and solar power on the Navajo
and Hopi reservations.
The JTC has already been granted authority
by the California Public Utilities Commission to work
out a plan.
Mediation efforts started last month
and are going well, Bessler reported. Parties include
the Navajo and Hopi tribes, the Just Transition partner
groups, SCE and other Mohave owners, and the Coalition
for Utility Employees (representing Mohave workers).
Peabody spokeswoman Beth Sutton said
this week the company is still "optimistic"
about reopening the Black Mesa Mine that used to supply
Mohave before the plant closed rather than spend billions
to comply with a court order to reduce emissions.
But Bessler called the SCE decision
to drop efforts to sell Mohave a major setback for both
the mine and the slurry that used to deliver the coal
"I hope Peabody Energy sees the
writing on the wall and does not work to keep the Black
Mesa Project EIS going and works instead with surrounding
Navajo and Hopi communities on investing in renewable
energy development and reclaiming the Black Mesa Mine
to a natural state," he wrote in an e-mail.