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State Officials Review Public Comments for Coal-Fired Plant Proposal


State officials are sifting through public comments on a proposal that would stop coal from being used to run the Cholla Power Plant near Joseph City. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, conservation groups say the plan doesn’t go far enough to protect the environment.

Groups including the Sierra Club and the National Parks Conservation Association say the plan would allow harmful nitrogen oxides to continue to be emitted from the plant. They say nearby communities and area national parks would suffer from air pollution and poor visibility.

Under the proposal, one of the four coal-fired generators at the Cholla Plant would close next year. Two others would remain open through 2025, when they’d be converted to natural gas or retired.

Arizona Public Service Company co-owns the Cholla Plant 80 miles east of Flagstaff. It says the proposal is a cost-effective way to adhere to regional haze rules put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The plan must first be approved by state utility regulators and the EPA.

Ryan Heinsius was named interim news director and managing editor in January 2024. He joined KNAU's newsroom as an executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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