PHOENIX — In Arizona, coal has long provided what the clouds will not.
Electricity produced at Navajo Generating Station, one of America's largest coal plants, primes 15 pumps operated by the Central Arizona Project, an aqueduct that annually lifts 1.5 million acre-feet of water out of the Colorado River and sends it 336 miles south to Phoenix and Tucson.
Now that's changing. When four utilities here voted in February to close the hulking coal plant by the end of 2019, its largest single customer barely blinked an eye. CONTINUE READING >>>
PAGE, Ariz. — For almost 26 years, Franklin Martin labored at Navajo Generating Station, a lumbering coal plant on Arizona's high desert. It was a good gig. The wages and benefits helped support nine children. Salt River Project, the plant operator, let Navajo employees like Martin take a sick day to see a medicine man. He was proud to work at a plant that bore his tribe's name.
But as the years passed, signs of trouble began to mount. The annual maintenance jobs gradually became smaller. A California utility sold its stake in the plant. Navajo Generating Station's coal supplier, Peabody Energy Corp., declared bankruptcy. CONTINUE READING >>>
Normally, the federal government does not concern itself with the fate of a single power plant. But how to keep a hulking Arizona coal plant open beyond 2019 has suddenly become an urgent test for President Trump and his incoming secretary of the Interior Department, Ryan Zinke.
Tribal leaders, whose reservations rely on the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) for jobs and tax revenue, are lobbying for federal subsidies and tax exemptions to keep it open. One state regulator has proposed the federal government reconsider the costly pollution controls it mandated in 2014. CONTINUE READING >>>
PORTER COUNTY, Ind. — Alex Tracy has spent most of his career in coal. Like many in this corner of northwest Indiana, Tracy got his start in the steel mills. He was employed in a coke plant, where coal is fed into the great blast furnaces that turn iron to steel.
The coke plant closed, but not before Tracy landed a job at the nearby Bailly Generating Station. Tracy has spent the last 13 years at the coal-fired facility, which towers over Lake Michigan and provides power to the maze of steel mills, refineries and other industrial operations that line its shores.
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