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…
The Salt Lake Tribune
May 19 2017 07:00AM
A plan to require new pollution controls at coal-fired power plants in Utah was among the Environmental Protection Agency's greatest accomplishments under the Obama administration, according to one of the agency's former leaders.
Shaun McGrath, former EPA Region 8 administrator, oversaw the agency's operations in Utah, the Dakotas, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming from 2013-2016. As is typical for the agency's regional officials, the political appointee left his position when President Donald Trump assumed office.
Trump has since appointed ex-Oklahoma Attorney General and longtime EPA critic Scott Pruitt to head the agency, but still has not filled McGrath's Region 8 position.
On Thursday, McGrath — now taking a break from his career to enjoy some globe trotting — met with environmental advocates in Salt Lake City to discuss the highlights of his tenure at the EPA, and his concerns about the agency's current direction. He also granted The Salt Lake Tribune an interview.
McGrath praised state environmental regulators and defended some of the controversial decisions to come out of the EPA in recent years — including the regional haze ruling that required new pollution systems at Rocky Mountain Power's Hunter and Huntington power plants in central Utah.
"In the past, relationships between the EPA and the states have been very strained," McGrath said in the wide-ranging interview.
Read the full article here.
NOTE: Because Joan joined Matt via SKYPE, the audio quality at the beginning is less than idea. Because it's such a good interview and the sound balances out after some time, we're still posting it. We hope you enjoy!
This week, Joan speaks with Matt about her time as the Senior Policy Advisor for EPA Region 8 under former President Obama from 2013-2016. Joan worked closely with Shaun McGrath, former Region 8 Administrator, who will be joining HEAL as the keynote speaker for our 2017 Spring Breakfast in May. During her tenure at the EPA, Joan was responsible for ensuring Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act were carried out in Region 8, contributed to the development of the Clean Power Plan and Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and worked closely with tribal governments on issues surrounding oil and gas development. Join us as she and Matt discuss the role of the EPA in ensuring clean air and a healthy environment along the Wasatch Front, the sea change of the current Administration and how this could affect the EPA, and the ways the EPA is looking to the future. She concludes with a taste of what Shaun will bring to the Spring Breakfast - get your tickets here! Be sure to listen!
Don't Forget to also
Urge Gov. Herbert to VETO HB65
Call 801-538-100 and ask Gov Herbert to veto this bad air quality bill!
On days like this, the old adage "some things are too good to be true" seems too fitting. Last June, HEAL and our allies had a big win in our fight to clean up Utah's two coal fired power plants, Hunter and Huntington. Help keep that victory alive!
With your help, HEAL directed thousands of comments and packed hearing after hearing with people all asking the EPA the same thing - To force Rocky Mountain Power to install important pollution controls on their dirty coal plants.
And it worked! The EPA sided with our arguments. Your letters and comments helped win the day. Hunter and Huntington were finally going to have to install controls that almost every other coal plant in the west already has.
It was a great day and we shared it with you in a celebratory email soon after. (We don't get to do too many of those!) Things were looking pretty great until the November election and we feared it was only a matter of time before there was an attempt to overturn the rule.
Well those fears have unfortunately been realized. On Tuesday, Utah's own "i-phones and health care" Representative Jason Chaffetz and Senator Mike Lee introduced legislation which would overturn the EPA's ruling. Representative Chaffetz tried to do it quietly hoping no one would notice. Luckily nothing gets past your local clean air and energy advocated and HEAL quickly alerted the media as to what was happening. You can read more about it in this Deseret News Article byclicking here.
Now to that point, we need your help! Let the Representative and Senator know that you support cleaning up these power plants and to stop this legislation. Click here to take action now! There you can learn more about the EPA's ruling and the legislation being run to overturn it. Then you can send a lette to Utah's congressional delegation.
There are some dirty polluted clouds on the horizon but with your help we can beat them back!
Your EPA Champion,
Michael O'Reagan Shea