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EPA Suggests $4.4 Billion in Modifications To Cut Grand Canyon Haze

February 16, 1990

PHOENIX (AP) _ A federal agency has proposed that $4.4 billion worth of pollution-control equipment be installed at a northern Arizona power plant to cut emissions blamed for wintertime haze at the Grand Canyon.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal has yet to be approved by the White House and its Office of Management and Budget and should not be considered definite, officials cautioned this week.

″It’s just a proposal at this point. Proposals have been changed before,″ said Christine Shaver, an attorney with the National Park Service in Denver.

David Stonefield, head of the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Research in Research Triangle Park, N.C., said the EPA was proposing a 90 percent reduction in sulfur-dioxide emissions - from 300 tons a day to 30 tons - from the Navajo Generating Station’s three 770-foot stacks.

The EPA estimates that emissions from the coal-fired plant near Page fouls as many as 15 percent of the days at the canyon from November through March. It also says it is possible that the plant’s emissions may cause haze during other seasons.

The utilities that own the plant, led by the Salt River Project based in Phoenix, dispute the EPA’s contention that the plant is responsible for haze at the canyon. Salt River officials and consultants have cited automobile pollution from the Los Angeles area as a more likely cause.

John McNamara, a Salt River Project associate general manager, said he was not surprised by the EPA’s proposal, but he said his utility was pleased that the EPA had agreed to consider Salt River’s own $10 million study into whether the plant is causing the canyon haze.

Results of that study are expected before a decision is made on the EPA proposal, possibly in October.

The EPA estimated the cost of pollution-control equipment at $4.4 million, while Salt River has said it would cost $1.6 billion.

A lawyer in Boulder, Colo., for the Environmental Defense Fund called the EPA proposal a ″very positive sign.″

″It’s significant in that they ask for a 90 percent reduction, which is everything we’ve asked for,″ said Robert Yuhnke, whose group filed a 1982 lawsuit that forced the EPA to check into the canyon haze.

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