FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has imposed new pollution limits on three coal-fired Arizona power plants, aiming to protect the environment and air quality for wilderness areas and landmarks such as the Grand Canyon.
The decision goes farther than the state’s plan and could force plants to shut down.
The EPA had proposed approving Arizona’s air-quality plan to reduce sulfur dioxide and soot at the Cholla, Coronado and Apache coal-fired plants. But when it came to nitrogen oxide emissions, the EPA suggested the state’s plan didn’t go far enough and came up with one of its own.
The Sierra Club’s Andy Bessler said these upgrades are long overdue.
"This issue ruled by EPA will not only clear the skies of regional haze but will improve public health," Bessler said.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality said the technology will cost $500 million and make electricity more expensive for customers. The EPA will address the remaining portions of Arizona's air quality plan by Dec. 8.