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:
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.
Two units, 895 megawatts total. Located near Huntington, Utah in Emery County. Owned and operated by PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power. Began operations in 1974.
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.
Recent updates on Coal…
Salt Lake Tribune
By: Emma Penrod
Published January 23, 2017
Three environmental groups have joined forces to call for Rocky Mountain Power to relocate a landfill which released more than 2,000 cubic yards of coal ash into the Price River last summer.
The Sierra Club, HEAL Utah, and Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment believe the landfill must be moved farther from the river to prevent future spills and protect communities downstream.
"Coal ash has some troubling components to it," said Matt Pacenza, executive director of HEAL Utah, "and we think piling it in a box canyon right next to a river doesn't adequately protect the health of nearby communities."
Rocky Mountain Power has agreed to pay the state just over $15,000 in penalties for the Aug. 4 spill, which washed an estimated 13.9 pounds of arsenic and 53.9 pounds of lead into the Price River in Panther Canyon during a flash flood.
... To read the full article, click here...
As 2016 winds down, it's time for one last message.
We have sent all kinds of emails your way this year. Many of them have been celebratory! It was largely a positive year for HEAL's campaigns. We managed to convince the EPA to crack down on pollution from Utah's coal power plants. A federal judge allowed our case aimed at forcing Rocky Mountain Power to clean up its coal ash mess at its Huntington plant to move forward.
We've also had several significant clean air victories, from convincing the legislature to require cleaner water heaters to expanding diesel emissions testing across the Wasatch Front.
So there was a lot to celebrate about 2016. We hope you celebrated with us, because we did not achieve a single hard earned victory alone! With support from our allies -- nonprofits, policy makers, businesses, foundations, donors and citizen activist LIKE YOU -- we have pushed forward in the face of adversity.
Now, there is of course a dark cloud!
That dark cloud comes in the form of the Trump Administration, soon taking power in Washington DC. The President-elect has pledged to roll back progress on health and environmental programs which have been key for Utah communities. That includes proposals such as ending the first significant American bid to limit carbon emissions, the Clean Power Plan, and weakening various initiatives that have helped Utah clean up our air.
Those programs are all via the EPA, an agency which Trump pledged during his campaign to cut so much that only “little tidbits” would remain.
2017 is going to be a tumultuous year. In addition to what may come from Washington, we have huge decisions looming here in Utah. Below, I’ll tell you about three of them – and how HEAL plans to push for protecting our health and the environment in the year to come.
First, I want to ask you to consider making a tax-deductible gift to HEAL Utah before the year ends. Contributions we receive during the final few days of the year will go a long way to cementing our ambitious plans for 2017. The good news is that many of you have given generously already this year – thank you! – and so we are planning for growth in 2017, adding staff and bolstering our influence.
So, to help HEAL – and to help Utah during such a key year – please considermaking a gift via our secure online portal now.
Let me tell you about three huge issues that we will work on in 2017.
First, we will fight Rocky Mountain Power's proposal to levy a trio of fees on rooftop solar which could cripple this clean energy industry just as it's taking off. We plan on hiring an expert and an attorney to boost our efforts to show the Public Service commission that Utahns who invest in clean energy are part of the solution – not a problem that needs to be pushed away.
Secondly, we will be pushing state air quality officials to come up with the best possible plan to clean up our air, after the EPA set the end of 2017 as a new deadline for Utah. It's been more than seven years since Utah began failing federal air standards and this coming year will be absolutely critical for coming up with the strongest measures available to reduce emissions from all sources.
Lastly, we expect a return of that bid from EnergySolutions to convince state officials to bring long-lasting depleted uranium to our West Desert, after the Department of Justice sued to block the company’s plans to acquire a competitor. DU is waste that remains hazardous for millions of years, radically different than the waste Utah takes currently. We will continue to apply pressure on Gov. Herbert and his staff to reject this dangerous nuclear waste bid.
A big year looms. We will face what's to come with your help. For now, we hope you enjoy the final days of 2016 with your family and friends. You’ll hear much more from HEAL soon.
The Salt Lake Tribune
Dec 24 2016
Just below the Huntington Power Plant, a coal-fired generating station at the mouth of the eponymous central Utah canyon, agricultural plots spread out along the right bank of Huntington Creek. For the past four decades, these bucolic 250 acres have been an integral part of plant operations, receiving wastewater to grow alfalfa, wheat and barley as part of scientific research aimed at developing low-cost ways of disposing of wastewater, according to published studies.
Scientists and regulators have concluded the practice recycles water without endangering the environment. The forage produced is safe, although one study found that the cattle eating it have "soft teeth and bone weaknesses," according to Esmaiel Malek, a former Utah State University professor who oversaw research at the plant's farm in the 2000s.
Read the whole article here.Read more...