In my 3.19.08 post at Red, Green, and Blue, I reported that Dine Power Authority and Sithe Global Power sued the US Environmental Protection Agency for dragging its feet on the air permit for a proposed coal-fired power plant on Navajo land in New Mexico. The group filed for a permit in 2004 and is still awaiting a final decision.
Now, opponents of the proposed coal-fired power plant have joined the legal fray by suing the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, according to a report in News From Indian Country. Dine Citizens Against Ruining our Environment and the San Juan Citizens Alliance claim federal agents have violated open records laws by withholding information related to the controversial plant and a coal mine that would supply it.
Among the groups’ requests are records on a consultant’s work on the draft environmental impact statement for the Desert Rock project, water use for the project and how the expansion of BHP Billiton’s Navajo Mine would affect tribal members who live and graze livestock in the area.
The New Mexico Environment Department and others have criticized the draft permit for not including enforceable conditions to address adverse visibility and for not analyzing mercury or carbon dioxide emissions. Others have complained that a better understanding of existing air quality conditions in the Four Corners region is needed before acceptable standards can be set for Desert Rock.