State Officials Review Public Comments for Coal-Fired Plant Proposal

Jul 15, 2015

State officials are sifting through public comments on a proposal that would stop coal from being used to run the Cholla Power Plant near Joseph City. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, conservation groups say the plan doesn’t go far enough to protect the environment.

The coal-fired Cholla Power Plant near Joseph City. The plant is co-owned by Arizona Public Service Co.
Credit APS

Groups including the Sierra Club and the National Parks Conservation Association say the plan would allow harmful nitrogen oxides to continue to be emitted from the plant. They say nearby communities and area national parks would suffer from air pollution and poor visibility.

Under the proposal, one of the four coal-fired generators at the Cholla Plant would close next year. Two others would remain open through 2025, when they’d be converted to natural gas or retired.

Arizona Public Service Company co-owns the Cholla Plant 80 miles east of Flagstaff. It says the proposal is a cost-effective way to adhere to regional haze rules put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The plan must first be approved by state utility regulators and the EPA.