Last updated 5:55PM ET
December 14, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Desert Rock Draws More Comment
(2007-08-30)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: A 30-day extension for comments on the proposed Desert Rock power plant is yielding more input, including a position by one of two Southwest Colorado Indian tribes.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: The August 20th deadline for comments on Desert Rocks Draft Environmental Impact Statement was extended at the last minute for 30-days.
Sithe Global wants to build the nearly 3-billion dollar, 1500 megawatt coal fired plant near a Navajo coal mine on the Navajo Reservation, Southwest of Farmington, New Mexico.
That corner of New Mexico already hosts two other coal fired plants, deemed among the dirtiest in the nation, prompting considerable opposition throughout the Four Corners to adding a third coal powered plant.
Desert Rocks proponents have claimed the plant will be one of the cleanest coal fired plant in the nation, setting a new standard for all future coal plants.
Late last week, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal council adopted a resolution on Desert Rock.
Initial published reports characterized the resolution as opposing Desert Rock on the neighboring Navajo reservation.
But Ute Mountain Ute General counsel Peter Ortego says that's not exactly the intent of the resolution.
OREGA: NATURALLY THE TRIBE VERY MUCH RESPECTS THE SOVERIEGN RIGHT OF THE NAVAJO NATION TO DETERMINE WHAT'S BEST FOR ITS PEOPLE. HOWEVER, THE UTE MOUNTAIN UTE TRIBE HAS TO ALSO LOOK OUT FOR ITS PEOPLE. AND WE'RE JUST AFRAID THAT IF THE PLANT WENT FORWARD THAT IT'S POSSIBLE THAT THE EFFECTS ON UTE MOUNTAIN UTE PEOPLE, IT COULD ADVERSELY AFFECT THEIR HEALTH IN THE FUTURE.
Ortego says the tribe's mostly concerned about the EIS itself.
ORTEGA: THE TRIBE IS NOT OPPOSED TO THE CONCEPT OF HAVING POWER PLANTS, WE'RE JUST CONCERNED IN HOW THE EIS WAS DONE IN THAT WE FEEL IT DID NOT ADEQUATELY CONSIDER THE CUMULATIVE IMPACTS OF ALL THE ACTIVITIES THAT ARE GOING ON DOWN HERE. IT SEEMED AS IF THE EIS ONLY LOOKED AT ONE POWER PLANT, AND WHAT THE IMPACTS WOULD BE FROM THAT ONE POWER PLANT AND DIDN'T LOOK AT THE OVERALL EFFECT, IN COMBINATION WITH ALL THE OTHER ACTIVITIES GOING ON HERE. I DON'T THINK IT'S FAIR TO SAY THAT THE COUNCIL CAME OUT IN OPPOSITION TO THE POWER PLANT ITSELF. WHAT WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT IS THAT IF IT'S GOING TO BE DONE THAT IT BE DONE CORRECTLY AND IN THAT IT BE DONE IN A WAY THAT'S SAFE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WE JUST DON'T THINK THE PROPER ANALYSIS HAS BEEN DONE.
It's not known if the Southern Ute Tribe plans to take a position on Desert Rock.
Earlier this week, Montezuma County Commissioners adopted a resolution urging developers of Desert Rock to use the best available technology and to work with existing power plants to reduce emissions in the region.
That resolution does not state a position either in favor or against Desert Rocks construction.
Shortly before August 20th, both Durango City Council and La Plata County Commissioners adopted resolutions on Desert Rock.
Those documents basically requested an extension of the comment period on the Draft EIS, and did not take formal positions for or against the plant.
Sithe Global officials hope the Final EIS will be issued later this year and they'd like construction on Desert Rock to begin sometime in mid 2008.
The plant and neighboring coal mine are expected to provide hundreds of jobs on the Navajo Nation, as well as generate about 50-million dollars a year in tax and royalty payments to the tribe.
Most of the power Desert Rock will produce is expected to be sold to utilities in Phoenix, Las Vegas and elsewhere in the southwest.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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