Nevada Focus: Stop Blackstone Coal
Lincoln County - Nevada
The Toquop Energy Station is a 750 megawatt coal-fired plant proposed in Southeast Nevada near Mesquite in Lincoln County. This plant, if built, will spew an estimated 5,500,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, along with over 1500 tons of dangerous nitrogen oxides, over 1300 tons of sulfur dioxide, 200 lbs of mercury, and over 1,000 tons of fine particulate pollution, every year for 50 years. These levels of toxins will endanger human health, prolong our addiction to fossil fuels, destroy precious desert ecosystems, and put current and future generations at risk for higher rates, all at a cost currently projected at nearly $3 billion dollars! It’s just too expensive for the ratepayers of Nevada to foot the bill for such a toxic and unsustainable project.
Plans for Sithe Global's Toquop Energy Project are still moving forward despite the recent postponements of two other coal plants proposed for Nevada - LS Power's White Pine Energy Station and NV Energy's Ely Energy Center. While executives from Sithe told the Las Vegas Sun they expect to begin construction next year, this appears highly unlikely. Sithe faces the same unfavorable regulatory and economic climate that led to the postponements of the White Pine and Ely projects, as well as large-scale, local opposition to the project, a lack of potential customers for its electricity, and the questionable availability of water, 2,500 acre feet or nearly 815 million gallon per year, needed for the plant.
According to the Bureau of Land Management, the final Environmental Impact Statement could be available in early summer of 2009. Additionally, the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection will hold hearings to allow public comments on its decision not to regulate the carbon dioxide to be emitted from the plant; the hearings will be scheduled once the agency finalizes its review of the construction permit for the plant, which could be at any time.
Since Nevada has no coal, Toquop plans to ship coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming by rail, a distance of over 600 miles. This makes absolutely no sense, especially consider that Nevada has world class solar and geothermal potential. Three billion dollars to develop these home-grown resources would be a huge economic shot in the arm to Nevada, while purchasing millions of tons of coal from Wyoming only serves to send precious state resources out of state.
It should also be pointed out that local opposition to Toquop is very high, including from the nearby City of Mesquite, NV, and their Mayor Susan Holecheck. The city is working to promote renewable energy development within the region. Organized opposition is also significant in St. George, Utah, just across the border and downwind approximately forty miles from the plant site.
You can read about the Mesquite Energy Task Force here.