I wanted to take the time to express my concern, and hopefully the concern of many of us, regarding the proposed Desert Rock coal-fired power plant to be built on the Navajo reservation.
The interior Southwest, which includes the Four Corners states and Nevada, already is home to 33 existing coal-fired power plants, and 19 additional plants have been proposed.
These existing plants produce approximately 400 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. Adding Desert Rock would increase that amount by 12.7 million tons.
It is understood that the Navajo Nation would produce approximately 200 permanent jobs at the Desert Rock plants and others at the coal mine, but studies show alternative energies such as wind and solar produce three to 11 times more jobs per megawatt-hour of energy produced. The National Renewable Energy Lab has calculated that a wind project smaller in size to Desert Rock could produce around 500 permanent jobs on the Navajo Nation. An obvious advantage here is these jobs wouldn't come at the cost of the people and environment's health.
I know many of us in the Durango area feel the decision to build yet another coal-fired power plant, not only in the Four Corners but in the country during this time of environmental decline, is a dire one. I am urging everyone who reads this to stand up, speak out and protest. Let's promote alternative energy in the Four Corners and put ourselves on the front lines for the future.
Ashley Ziegler, Bayfield