Coal

smokestackAt HEAL, we work hard to push our utility, Rocky Mountain Power, to move away from relying on dirty coal to embracing clean energy.

It’s challenging work, in part because power companies across America have done an especially impressive job of linking themselves with benign things, green and blue things, like grass, the sky, wind and the earth.

Despite that effective marketing, we and you know the truth: Utilities burning coal to generate electricity are a devastating force for ill. Their pollution sickens our families and is warming our planet. They are not moving nearly quickly enough towards wind, solar and geothermal power – and in many cases, they’re actively trying to block that transition.

The Worst in the West

A significant majority of Rocky Mountain Power’s electricity comes from burning coal and the next biggest chunk from natural gas. The data varies, depending upon the source, but roughly 80 to 85 percent of most Utahns’ electricity comes from polluting fossil fuels.

We need your help to force our utility — Rocky Mountain Power — to move away from dirty coal towards clean energy. Check back to this page regularly and read the below posts and news articles to find out more about that work.

To attract as many people as possible to our campaign targeting Rocky Mountain Power, we’ve created a short video. Please check the video out – we think it’s a powerful indictment of our utility’s hypocrisy. It’s just three minutes long, and we’re immensely proud of it:

For residents and businesses in the Salt Lake City area who receive their electricity from PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power, the company’s largest sources of power generation in Utah – coal-fired power plants – are far from sight, to the south in Carbon and Emery Counties. Basic information on pollution emissions from these plants, and on coal-fired power in the state more broadly, isn’t readily provided by the company to Utahns.

 Here’s a quick rundown or Rocky Mountain Power’s Coal Plants:

  • Hunter

    Three units, 1,320 megawatts total. Located near Castle Dale, Utah in Emery County. Owned and operated by PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power. Began operations in 1978.

  • Huntington

    Two units, 895 megawatts total. Located near Huntington, Utah in Emery County. Owned and operated by PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power. Began operations in 1974.

  • Sunnyside

    One unit, 51 megawatts. Located in East Carbon/Sunnyside, Utah, in Carbon County. PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power purchases 100% of the power from the plant, which is owned and operated by Exelon. Began operations in the 1990s. Burns coal waste from old mines.

  • Carbon Power Plant

    Located in helper in Helper, this coal plant has recently been retired.

Our campaigns pushing Rocky Mountain Power have many angles, from fighting against their proposed solar tax, to pushing the state of Utah to use the Regional Haze rule to crack down on coal power pollution, to shining a light on the tortuous thicket of rules that govern utilities which complicate HEAL’s efforts to wield our citizen activism power.

Hunter Power Plant, Emery County, Utah

Hunter Power Plant, Emery County, Utah


 

 


Recent updates on Coal…

NEWS: Utah among the most toxic states, report says

Jasen Lee
Deseret News
11/09/2017

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah ranks among the highest producers of toxic chemicals in the United States, according to data and information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A Forbes.com report shows that the Beehive State was No. 3 behind only Alaska and Nevada in the amount of toxins released into the environment during 2016, the year with the most recently available data.

The Toxic Releases Inventory report includes data from over 18,000 facilities nationwide, covering industries such as chemicals, manufacturing, mining and utilities. The total releases were measured in pounds of approximately 650 different toxins that were determined to have considerable negative impacts on humans and/or the environment.

 

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"We know that there is a decent amount of pollution produced and released into the environment," said Jessica Reimer, policy associate with Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah. "(The ranking) underscores the importance of ensuring that state policies and regulations are doing their job to protect Utah families, especially in one of the most population-dense counties in Utah."

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Episode #95: Julie Stewart, Professor At Westminster College

Julie Stewart, a Westminster honors college professor, joins Matt in a conversation about research she and her students did about Utah rooftop solar owners. Julie, an award-winning scholar and teacher who happens to also be Matt's wife, describes the 200+ online surveys and 60+ interviews her team did to learn about who owns rooftop solar in Utah and why. Julie points out that their sample of solar owners was much larger than the one Rocky Mountain Power used to justify its proposed rate hike from 2016. Her team found that Utah solar owners are more diverse than the utility would like to believe, with a significant number of middle-class families in relatively small homes. Julie and Matt also discuss the attitudes of rooftop solar owners towards Rocky Mountain Power (not good!) For more information, check out the "Executive Summary: A Study of Utah Rooftop Solar Power Owners," which Julie and her team produced.

Read more...

NEWS: Commentary: Trump abandons efforts to clean up Utah's air

Brian Moench and Malin Moench
Salt Lake Tribune
10/17/2017

 

With all the scandals, in-fighting, threats, taunts, firings, bragging, tweeting and name calling, President Trump’s White House is certainly “The Greatest Show on Earth.” But behind this circus tent and out of the limelight, dangerous, death-defying feats are under way that are anything but entertainment.

This administration’s anti-environmental act has been truly breathtaking. Last week’s ditching of the Clean Power Plan has been widely condemned. But, behind the headlines, Trump is also scrapping the most important opportunity to clean up Wasatch Front air in decades.

About half our year-round air pollution comes from vehicles. With population growth bringing ever more cars, UDOT following the Los Angeles blueprint for more freeways and more driving by all those cars, the amount of pollution per vehicle becomes all important in Utah.

 

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2 Comments:

  1. I would like to know how you are going to replaced 2200 + megawatts of power when you shut down the coal fired power plants.
    You are also claiming that nuclear power is expensive than why is France have some of the lowest power cost in the world and the most nuclear power plants.

    • Hello Chad. Thank you for the comment. With the price decreasing and efficiency improving, we are looking to solar and wind to replace the energy created by coal fired power plants.

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