Environmental issues, near and far | AspenTimes.com

Environmental issues, near and far

Dear Editor:A heartfelt “thank-you” to the City of Aspen for the creation of the Canary Initiative and yesterday’s community forums is in order. The information presented is timely, well researched and a clearly, a call to action. Immediate action is necessary as well on the permitting process for the Desert Rock power plant to be constructed south of Farmington, N.M. While we are a good distance away, history AND science tell us we should all be concerned about the impact of the new Desert Rock plant to Colorado air and water quality.Here’s the EPA site on the Desert Rock project: http://www.epa.gov/region09/air/permit/desertrock/index.htmlBased on years of data analysis of air quality transport issues by the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission, the air and water quality on the Colorado Plateau has been severely impacted by emissions from coal-fired plants in the Four Corners region. (The Western Regional Air Partnership has continued some of the work of the transport commission: http://www.wrapair.org/wraplinks.htm)Written comment must be received by Oct. 27. There are a series of public information meetings coming up Sept. 12-14 with the only Colorado meeting in Durango on the 14th. Prior analysis of air quality transport issues indicate that Aspen and a large chunk of western Colorado will be impacted and likely impacted dramatically by the emissions from the power plant. The Canary Initiative forum yesterday illustrated the truly global scope and local impact of our climate change issues. The plant south of Farmington is, in this sense, truly in our backyard.The plant may have different regulatory requirements (exemptions) since it will be on tribal land with tribal oversight backed by Region 9 of the EPA. Region 9 Serves Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and over 140 Tribal Nations, but not Colorado. Tribal sovereignty is most certainly a concern in regulatory matters. I am a strong supporter of tribal self-determination and wish them well in their governance efforts. My great concern with this project is for off-site air and water quality impacts to all of western Colorado, especially our public lands. We cannot carve out protected zones for air and water quality with jurisdictional lines on a map. Please make time to review the information on the web and make your own comments. Thank you.Shirley TiptonAspen