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Navajo Generating Station Smokestacks To Be Demolished Friday

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Ryan Heinsius
/
KNAU

Friday morning the three smokestacks at the now-closed Navajo Generating Station will be demolished. It marks an end to the most striking visual reminder of coal power generation in the area. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The towering 775-foot stacks came to define the skyline near Page and could be seen for miles throughout the surrounding canyon country and Lake Powell. They emitted sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and other gasses and byproducts of coal generation 24-hours-a-day for more than four decades. The structures replaced the plant’s original stacks in the 1990s.

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Credit Ryan Heinsius / KNAU
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KNAU
A view of NGS's three 775-foot smokestacks from beneath. They emitted sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and other gasses and byproducts of coal generation 24-hours-a-day for more than four decades. They replaced the plant’s original stacks in the 1990s.

According to the Salt River Project, a series of explosions will bring them down, and the site will be closed to most staff and contractors because of COVID-19 concerns.

The 2,250-megawatt plant opened in the 1970s and provided power to pump Colorado River water to the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas. But it was shuttered as coal became less economical for power generation in favor of renewables and natural gas.

Conservationists and many tribal members applauded last year’s closing of NGS, blaming the plant for myriad environmental impacts and health problems in local communities.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom 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 frequent contributor to NPR.
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