Gary King (D)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Legal Newsline)---The federal Environmental Appeals Board has returned the air quality permit for the Desert Rock power plant to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency amid issues raised by the New Mexico attorney general.
State Attorney General Gary King said Friday that he challenged the air permit application because it "shortchanged public health and the environment" in northwest New Mexico.
The proposed 1,500 megawatt pulverized coal-burning plant would be on Navajo Nation trust land in the Four Corners area of the state. Sithe Global LLC, based in New York, plans to build the plant near Burnham, N.M.
King said in its ruling, the Environmental Appeals Board granted the Environmental Protection Agency's request to withdraw the entire permit to revisit issues raised in his appeal.
The panel also found that the EPA had "abused its discretion" in refusing to consider certain pollution controls for the proposed power plant, the AG said.
"In taking this permit back, EPA can now do what we have said they must do all along and that is to ensure that New Mexicans receive the full protections provided under federal law," the Democrat said in a statement.
The attorney general said now that the permit application has been remanded, the Environmental Protection Agency will have to reopen the permitting process and conduct additional analysis, which could take a year or more to complete.
From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at email@example.com.