I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Desert Rock coal plant hits another stumbling block
The biological assessment has been withdrawn for a proposed coal-fired power plant in the Four Corners region by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, according to the Associated Press. The federal agency has “significant concerns” about how the amount of selenium and mercury in the San Juan River might affect two endangered fish species that are present in the river, the news service reports.
In an interview earlier this month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department’s Wally Murphy told the Independent that both of the two metals pose serious problems for the San Juan River.
“Selenium in the San Juan River is at the point where reproduction and nervous system function in the fish are impaired,” Murphy said at the time. Additionally, he said, mercury levels in the San Juan are much higher than are healthy for fish.
The biological assessment was issued in December 2008, and the Endangered Species Act requires that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department have time to review and make recommendations about the assessment before an air quality permit is issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, the EPA issued an air permit for the proposed Desert Rock power plant in 2008 before the Service could complete it’s study of the biological impacts of the plant on endangered species in the four corners region near Farmington. This is one of the primary reasons the EPA cited for pulling back the air permit in September.