The plant releases more than 19 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. In 2004, it was the nation’s fifth largest power plant emitter of carbon dioxide and eleventh largest emitter of nitrogen oxides.
The Navajo Generating Station is located about 25 kilometers from the Grand Canyon National Park. In 1987, a National Park Service study demonstrated that the plant impacts the air quality at the park and contributes to the wintertime haze at the Grand Canyon. In 1991, as a result of years of litigation by environmental organizations and citizen activists, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency required a 90% reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions from the plant.
As with many aging power plants nationwide, Navajo is due for expensive upgrades necessary for it to comply with pollution and air quality regulations. Using the Navajo Generating Station as a case study, an environmental advocacy group in Colorado, Natural Capitalism Solutions, released a report in March of 2010 stating that such facilities, in order to protect jobs and move in a more environmentally safe direction, will be more profitable by abandoning retrofit plans and instead embracing a full range of clean energy resources, including wind, photovoltaic and concentrated solar, geothermal, and biomass.
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