Navajo Nation Members Say Clean Air Proposal For Tribal Power Plants Too Lax

By Steve Shadley
Published: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 5:23pm
Updated: Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 11:00pm
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(Steve Shadley/ KJZZ News)
Jihan Gearon (left) and Wahleah Johns of Black Mesa, Ariz. They oppose the new clean air standards the EPA proposed for power plants on the Navajo Nation because they are lower than standards the state must meet.

Some Navajo Nation members want power plants on tribal land to meet the same carbon dioxide standards as the state under a new federal clean air proposal. 

Navajo environmentalists said the EPA’s latest proposal to reduce emissions linked to ozone depletion gives power plants on reservations special treatment.  

“While the rest of the state of Arizona is going to have up to 50 percent reductions, for us its going to only be a mandated 4 to 6 percent reduction,” said Jihan Gearon of Black Mesa, Ariz.

Gearon said carbon dioxide gasses are causing drought and making Navajo people sick. But, an EPA official at a Phoenix hearing on the proposal Wednesday said the tribes have to meet different standards because that’s the way the Clean Air Act was written.

The EPA is accepting public testimony on the proposals through Dec. 19. 

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