DENVER - Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and Attorney General John Suthers say they are cooperating in an effort to force the cleanup of New Mexico power plants.
Ritter last week sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asking it to reconsider its permit for the proposed Desert Rock Power Plant and to require greater pollution controls on the existing Four Corners Power Plant, west of Farmington.
"It is past time that we cleaned up the Four Corners Power Plant, one of the largest sources of air pollution in the country, so that we can reduce ozone, people can breathe easier and we can improve our western vistas towards what they used to be and should be," Ritter said in a news release.
Ritter will be in Durango today to attend a small-business forum at Fort Lewis College.
Suthers pledged that his legal staff will work closely with Ritter's Department of Public Health and Environment on Four Corners air issues. He's especially concerned Southwest Colorado might be held in violation of ozone standards along with Northwest New Mexico.
"Colorado has been ahead of the game on both ozone and mercury emissions, and the state should be rewarded, not penalized," Suthers said in a news release.
Last week, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson argued in a letter to the EPA that his state shouldn't be found in violation because one of the air monitors near Navajo Lake was malfunctioning and sending in high readings, according to the Associated Press.
The latest moves were not a response to a letter that state Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, sent Suthers last week, said Suthers' spokesman Mike Saccone. However, Suthers will sign a letter Tipton requested to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the EPA. That letter will go out sometime this week.
In an e-mail, Desert Rock spokesman Frank Maisano said the power plant will be good for the region's air because Desert Rock will help modernize other area plants.
"Air quality in the region will actually improve with Desert Rock because of our agreement to reduce emissions 10 percent beyond where they would have been anyway without the plant," Maisano said.
Ritter, however, told the EPA that Desert Rock will increase nitrogen-oxide pollution and make it harder for Northwest New Mexico to meet the federal ozone standard.