Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Cleaner Air for Nevada
Nevada’s air quality will be improved as a result of a $60 million settlement between the federal government and the Nevada Power Company. The settlement requires a reduction in the emissions of a harmful pollutant, nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the Clark Generating Station, a natural gas-fired power plant in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Today's settlement allows Clark County residents to breathe easier,” said Granta Nakayama, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This action protects public health.”
This reduction in NOx, by approximately 2,300 tons annually, resolves the claim by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that Nevada Power Company violated the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act. These provisions specify what air pollution control devices must be used, what emission limits must be met, and how a facility must be operated. The settlement will require Nevada Power to install pollution controls at the Clark Station to reduce NOx. The reduction of 2,300 tons annually represents an 86% reduction from 2004-2005 levels.
“This is a major victory for Nevada's citizens and because of it, they will breathe cleaner air.” said Wayne Nastri, Administrator for the EPA's Pacific Southwest region.
NOx, which forms when fuel is burned at high temperatures, contributes to respiratory problems and increases the likelihood of childhood asthma. Exposure to high concentrations of NOx can cause lung irritation and possible lung damage, leaving children and those who work and exercise outside more susceptible. The pollutant is also a contributor to smog and haze which pose serious environmental and health risks. Some primary sources of NOx are motor vehicles, electric utilities, and other industrial, commercial, and residential sources that burn fuels. NOx can also be formed naturally.
In addition to the NOx reductions, Nevada Power will pay a $300,000 civil penalty and fund a $400,000 environmental mitigation project—the installation of solar arrays on the building of a non-profit organization in Las Vegas. Solar arrays are a collection of many photovoltaic cells allowing greater capacity for producing energy from the sun. Electricity generated by the sun can have energy and cost savings, and can even be sold back to local utilities for use elsewhere.
This settlement, which will help to improve the environmental and public health in the affected communities, is a big victory for air quality in Nevada.