STATEMENT:HEAL Utah Encourages PacifiCorp to Commit to Halting Coal-Fired Units in Utah but Cautions Direction Towards Nuclear Energy

For Immediate Release
March 31, 2023

Meisei Gonzalez
Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah
385-626-1147 | meisei@healutah.org

HEAL Utah Encourages PacifiCorp to Commit to Halting Coal-Fired Units in Utah but Cautions Direction Towards Nuclear Energy

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, PacifiCorp filed its preliminary 2023 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which includes its commitment to closing two coal-fired power plants in Utah. HEAL Utah’s Executive Director, Lexi Tuddenham releases the following statement regarding this issue. 

“Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) has a history of failing to meet federal regulations to reduce emissions. We encourage RMP to put forward tangible steps to ensure this proposal won’t become another missed target and take immediate action to meet current emission-reducing regulations.”

“If this new target is met, Rocky Mountain Power’s decision to close these plants could finally eliminate toxic emissions from two of the most polluting plants in the country– ones that have muddied our airsheds and impacted the health of millions.  In addition, this decision will give communities the certainty they need to plan for their future. Rocky Mountain Power must support these communities through this transition in diverse ways, including investment in new types of sustainable economic development.”  

“Unfortunately, RMP’s proposal to convert these plants to nuclear does not provide that type of certainty.  Over and over again, we have seen proposed nuclear plants overrunning their estimated costs and falling far behind schedule. Not only does this over-promising by RMP prevent communities from moving forward, but expensive nuclear power, once it is finally built, must be run around the clock to make up for it its cost-ineffectiveness.  This means it is not a preferable baseload to complement wind and solar, which are far cheaper in today’s market. Instead, ratepayers end up paying for one of the most expensive sources of energy, and one that will put new piles of radioactive waste on the doorstep of their host communities, potentially in perpetuity.”

Integrated Resource Plans are blueprints considering various energy supply and demand elements, including forecasting and strategizing to meet specific energy goals. You can read more about PacifiCorp’s IRP here. 

The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting Utah’s environment and its people by promoting clean air, clean energy, and comprehensive solutions to radioactive and toxic waste.