Enviros to Navajos: Go green or get lost

Despite the fact that Navajo Nation president Joe Shirley Jr. won an international award for environmentalism, he's a thorn in the side for environmentalists. Why? Because, according to them, the power plant that provides energy and jobs to his people in Arizona is an environmental hazard, one that creates an unsightly haze over the Grand Canyon.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants the Navajo Generating Station, which is supplied with coal from mines on Black Mesa, to install air-scrubbing equipment. A Sierra Club spokesman described the plants as “low-hanging fruit.” And the journalist reporting the story cites Shirley as the only climate change skeptic, while quoting a number of Shirley's opponents.

While we learn that…

More than 1,500 United Nations climate scientists agree that Earth's temperature has begun to rise at a potentially disastrous rate, and that carbon emissions are the major cause. Skrelunas noted a study issued this spring by Jayne Belnap, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, which says global warming is expected to increase temperatures in the Four Corners area 10 degrees by 2100. Already, Belnap reports, drought has tripled the number of dust storms swirling from the high desert into the Colorado Rockies.

… No mention is made of the fact that a number of the signers of the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change report have since changed their views or otherwise critiqued the report. There is no such thing as a consensus in the scientific community on global warming. And here's another important tidbit pulled from William Yeatman and Jeremy Lott's piece in our own commentary pages in August:

Despite the Navajo Nation's efforts to ensure that the Desert Rock Plant would be up to 10 times cleaner than other regional plants for key particulate pollutants, the Environmental Protection Agency only grudgingly granted an air quality permit last summer, after a six-year delay. Then, in an unprecedented decision this April, the EPA rescinded the permit at the behest of lawyers for environmentalist advocacy groups like EarthJustice.

EPA officials claim they need more time evaluate the environmental effect of the plant, but they've been on the case for years. A more plausible explanation is that President Barack Obama is trying to keep his campaign pledge to “bankrupt” the American coal industry to save the planet from global warming.

Here's another problem with the piece: It omits that unemployment on the reservation is about 50 percent, a problem that would be mitigated by the plant.

Apparently for enviros, carbon credits trump carbon-based lifeforms.

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