Richard Ruelas: Not everyone is satisfied with plans to cut haze at the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon chapter of the Sierra Club says although they are encouraged by the plans they do have some concerns. Sandy Bahr of the Sierra Club is here to talk about that. Was the Sierra Club at the proverbial table, as they say?
Sandy Bahr: We've been involved with trying to protect Grand Canyon and air quality in general for a long time. And yes, we did participate in the discussions at the beginning. But we participated thinking that the proposal would be something that is better than what the EPA proposed. That was the understanding when the discussions started, that it would be better than BART or better than best available retrofit technology.
Richard Ruelas: You were hoping the compromise would accelerate the plan, reduce haze quicker.
Sandy Bahr: Right, and actually go beyond what was being proposed, that was the understanding. And it became clear that it not only wasn't going to be better than that, but it was not going to meet those requirements. When the proposal came out we saw it does not meet the Clean Air Act requirements, it doesn't meet the deadlines, it doesn't meet the reductions, it pushes the timelines out a lot further. And also, I know that the proponents talk about certainty, but there really is no certainty in this proposal. There are so many ifs in the proposal they might shut down one early, but might not.
Richard Ruelas: Return seeing a unit shut down in 2020, you would rather have a solution of the being cleaner before a decade?
Sandy Bahr: But also making sure that the other units met the requirements. And this proposal doesn't do that. We also think that a lot more could be done to promote transition to clean renewable energy. This isn't about saying no to everything, this is about come on, we've waited for decades for cleanup, let's get on with it and start the transition effort to start clean renewable energy you don't get to keep polluting the Grand Canyon and harming the public health, especially the health of the Hopi and Navajo people.
Richard Ruelas: We're talking about haze going over there.
Sandy Bahr: Also 11 other class one -- class one wilderness areas.
Richard Ruelas: The head of CAP said there was not at this time a feasible alternative to worsen any of means?
Sandy Bahr: We definitely think we are well on the road to doing an -- -- if we can keep the utilities from getting in the way of renewables, we're well on our way. We think that it's a reasonable alternative.
Richard Ruelas: But somehow putting pressure on them will kind of squeeze out innovation?
Sandy Bahr: Well, because they are trying to stay steps backwards right now, and undercut solar. I think if anything shows how risky the coal plants are, it's closures like this, especially relevant to the deregulation studies. Some have said if you do that, we're not going to fulfill what he said we were going to do with the plant. It really hammers home how risky the coal is.
Richard Ruelas: This is all being for haze. Is it appreciable? Would we notice under this plan or accelerated, would we notice a reduction in haze?
Sandy Bahr: We would definitely notice, Had to go through and demonstrate that. So we would definitely notice it. The knock time envelope, that also denotes one of the seven natural wars of the elder. They don’t go to Grand Canyon to not see it.
Richard Ruelas: Thanks for joining us.
Sandy Bahr: Have a good evening.