King: Obama administration could help coal plant foes

Chris Rizo Dec. 26, 2008, 11:23am

Gary King (D)

FARMINGTON, N.M. (Legal Newsline)-New Mexico Attorney General Gary King says President-elect Barack Obama's administration likely means that the proposed Desert Rock Power plant will get a fair hearing.

The Democratic attorney general said the leadership change coming to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will give opponents of the controversial project an opportunity to speak against the EPA's granting of an air permit for the proposed 1,500 megawatt pulverized coal-burning plant.

"There might be hope," King was quoted by the (Farmington, N.M.) Daily-Times as saying. "The incoming administration will give us the opportunity to make our arguments against EPA's grant of Desert Rock's air permit."

Sithe Global LLC, based in New York, plans to build the plant near Burnham, N.M., on the Navajo Reservation.

King, who holds a doctorate in chemistry, challenged the air permit in late July. In October, the attorney general filed a brief with the federal Environment Appeals Board in Washington.

He claimed that the EPA failed to adhere to the U.S. Endangered Species Act, failed to properly analyze emissions of hazardous pollutants and improperly regulating Desert Rock's expected carbon dioxide emissions.

Last week, King and other state attorneys general met with Obama's transition team.

"The meeting gave us the opportunity to have discussions on legal issues related to the Department of Justice, Department of Interior, Energy and Environmental-related issues and to speak with a representative of the White House Intergovernmental Affairs committee," King told the newspaper. "I had an opportunity to talk with the representatives of energy and environment about Desert Rock and how the EPA should address carbon dioxide issues."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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