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Nevada power plant to close after dispute

December 30, 2005 by  
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The Associated Press 12.30.05

LAUGHLIN, Nev. — A large coal-fired power plant at the center of a dispute
several years ago will close at the end of the year rather than violate a
court-ordered deadline to install an estimated $1.1 billion in pollution-control
measures.
Southern California Edison said Thursday the Mohave Generating Station near
Laughlin would close. The plant has provided the utility with 7 percent of
its electricity, but the company said its 13 million customers would not be
immediately affected because of other power sources.
Under a 1999 consent decree won by environmental groups, the aging Mohave
plant was required to upgrade its pollution controls or close by Jan. 1, 2006.
The groups had argued the 1,580-megawatt plant, about 100 miles south of Las
Vegas, had repeatedly violated the Clean Air Act, contributing to haze at
the Grand Canyon.
The utility, the plant’s majority owner and operator, had hoped to keep it
open as natural gas prices have continued to rise.
In a filing Thursday with the California Public Utilities Commission, Edison
said it planned to continue negotiations aimed at keeping the plant open but
expected to close it for at least a few months. The environmental groups
have said they would not agree to a deadline extension.
The plant is the only customer of the Black Mesa mine near Kayenta, Ariz.,
which provides about 160 jobs to members of the Navajo Nation. The mine, run
by Peabody Energy Corp., will likely be forced to close.
“It was the environmental groups that helped bring this about – for
altruistic reasons, of course – but the result is that a lot of breadwinners are
going to be out of work,” said George Hardeen, a spokesman for the Navajo Nation.
Environmentalists said they sympathized with the tribes, but argued Edison
had plenty of time to fix the plant’s pollution problems. Edison should invest
in renewable energy sources on tribal land, which would benefit the people
“who have been exploited all of these years by the greater metropolitan
centers of the West,” said Roger Clark, director of the Grand Canyon Trust’s air
and energy program.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1110AP_Power_Plant_Closure.html

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/northern_california/13515985.htm

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Nevada power plant to close after dispute

The Associated Press 12.30.05

LAUGHLIN, Nev. — A large coal-fired power plant at the center of a dispute
several years ago will close at the end of the year rather than violate a
court-ordered deadline to install an estimated $1.1 billion in pollution-control
measures.
Southern California Edison said Thursday the Mohave Generating Station near
Laughlin would close. The plant has provided the utility with 7 percent of
its electricity, but the company said its 13 million customers would not be
immediately affected because of other power sources.
Under a 1999 consent decree won by environmental groups, the aging Mohave
plant was required to upgrade its pollution controls or close by Jan. 1, 2006.
The groups had argued the 1,580-megawatt plant, about 100 miles south of Las
Vegas, had repeatedly violated the Clean Air Act, contributing to haze at
the Grand Canyon.
The utility, the plant’s majority owner and operator, had hoped to keep it
open as natural gas prices have continued to rise.
In a filing Thursday with the California Public Utilities Commission, Edison
said it planned to continue negotiations aimed at keeping the plant open but
expected to close it for at least a few months. The environmental groups
have said they would not agree to a deadline extension.
The plant is the only customer of the Black Mesa mine near Kayenta, Ariz.,
which provides about 160 jobs to members of the Navajo Nation. The mine, run
by Peabody Energy Corp., will likely be forced to close.
“It was the environmental groups that helped bring this about – for
altruistic reasons, of course – but the result is that a lot of breadwinners are
going to be out of work,” said George Hardeen, a spokesman for the Navajo Nation.
Environmentalists said they sympathized with the tribes, but argued Edison
had plenty of time to fix the plant’s pollution problems. Edison should invest
in renewable energy sources on tribal land, which would benefit the people
“who have been exploited all of these years by the greater metropolitan
centers of the West,” said Roger Clark, director of the Grand Canyon Trust’s air
and energy program.
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1110AP_Power_Plant_Closure.html

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/northern_california/13515985.htm

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Lobbyist worked with Jack Abramoff

From Indian Country Today

In addition to the energy generation alternatives study ordered by the
CPCU and commissioned by SCE, the tribes themselves have been looking at “
other power generation options, including wind, solar and coal.

A May 26 Hopi tribal press release described the tribe’s meetings with
Headwaters Corp. officials John Baird and John Ward, and the Department of
Energy, to look at the possibility of constructing a coal liquefaction
plant and electric generating plant “on ranch lands own by the tribe.” For
the past eight years, the tribe has been using federal money awarded as
part of the settlement of its land dispute with the Navajo Nation to
purchase land in Flagstaff, ranch land south of Interstate 40 near Canyon
Diablo and farm land near Yuma, Ariz.

The release read: “‘We want to brief Energy Department officials on the
proposed [memorandum of understanding] with Headwaters and find out what,
if any funding might be available for clean coal technology projects on
Indian lands,’ said Kevin Ring, an attorney for Barnes & Thornburg and
Hopi’s Capitol Hill lobbyist.”

(The Energy Policy Act of 2005, versions of which have been passed by
both the House and the Senate, has in it money for clean coal technology
development and for the development of power generation facilities on
Indian lands. Whether these provisions will survive the reconciliation
process and final passage of the bill remains to be seen.)

Less than a week later, the tribe announced that its relationship with
Ring was terminated.

The move came after Ring declined to answer questions put to him by the
Senate Indian Affairs Committee during a hearing June 22, the third
hearing held as part of the committee’s investigation into the alleged
fraud perpetrated on several Indian tribes by high-powered Washington
lobbyists Jack Abramoff and Mike Scanlon.

According to the Hopi chairman’s office, Ring was a lobbyist for the
tribe for five years,
which would be roughly from mid-1999 to mid-2005.
During this period, the tribe, with the help of an unnamed lobbyist,
entered into discussions with Reliant Energy to build a coal-fired power
plant on Black Mesa. On March 22, 2002 the tribal council passed a
resolution approving a joint development agreement with Reliant to explore
the possibility of developing an electric generating plant on Hopi land.

In a KUYI Hopi radio forum on May 14, 2002, Taylor said, in response to
a question about why Reliant was chosen to partner with the tribe on this
project: “Reliant Energy worked with same lobbyist we did in the state of
Arizona. Our lobbyists know we have coal resources, and they were the ones
who introduced us to Reliant.”
Neither former Vice Chairman Elgean
Joshevama nor former Vice Chairman Caleb Johnson can confirm that Ring was
the lobbyist with whom the tribe worked on the Reliant project; Johnson
did say that the law firm involved was Greenberg Traurig, which has an
office in Phoenix, and Ring worked for Greenberg Traurig in 2002.

The tribe pulled out of the Reliant partnership later in May 2002 due to
public pressure and “internal troubles” the company was experiencing as a
result of the 2001 California energy crisis.

Ring worked with Jack Abramoff at Preston Gates and then, beginning in
2002, at Greenberg Traurig. From 1998 – 2004, the Hopi Tribe paid
Greenberg Traurig $700,000 – more than half of its total lobbying costs
for that period, according to records on The Center for Public Integrity’s
Web site. Ring left Greenberg Traurig and moved to Barnes & Thornburg
early in 2004.

The June 22 hearing focused on the lobbyists’ dealing with the
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. The committee reiterated that the
Choctaw were victims of fraud and were not accused of any wrongdoing.

Ring invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in response to questioning by
Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz. Some of those questions related
Ring’s club dues, were discussed in this exchange of e-mails:

Ring to Abramoff: April 24, 2001; Subject: help: “Remember I talked to
you about getting some help from a client to subsidize me joining a club.
Well, I looked around and want to do the University Club. I already know
some people there and they all think it is good for business.

“I know I can bill expenses I incur there, etc, but how can I get help
with the $800 initiation fee? We are trying to join asap. Thanks.”

Abramoff to Ring [and others]: “Rodney, please cut Kevin a check from me
for $800.”

Ring to Abramoff: “Really? There is no way to bury this in Choctaw or
SGMA bill?”

Abramoff to Ring: “Perhaps, but I want to make sure you get this …”

Committee Vice Chairman Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., described “Team
Abramoff’s” dealings with the tribe as “deception and greed that even by
Washington standards are breathtaking.”

Copyright c. 2005 Indian Country Today.

http://www.nanews.org/archive/2005/nanews13.031

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