Who Knows Which Way the Wind May Blow?

“You don’t need a weather man To know which way the wind blows”

With these words, in his 1965 song “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, Bob Dylan stated eloquently the need for the younger generation to, make their own decisions.

Knowing which way the wind blows also means, To understand what is happening in changing circumstances and to be able to anticipate the future.

Where does our younger generation stand some 48 years after these words were coined?

Some are environmentally active, some are clueless, the Baby Boomer generation still has work to do!

What do your kids have on their mind?

What do your kids have on their mind?

I recently visited Page, Arizona.  This is where the Navajo Generating Station is located!

After photographing the exhaust towers I wondered…”Where do the prevailing winds blow from the Coal Burning Electric Generating plant in Page Arizona anyway?”

Well mostly towards Utah and Colorado, however when the wind shifts, much of the pollution from this coal burning plant drops into the Grand Canyon.

The Navajo Generating Plant is Operated by SRP

SRP, BOR (Bureau of Reclamation-the Dam), LA Dept of Water and Power, APS, Nevada Energy and Tucson Electric Power all share as participants in the cost of this plant.

Built in the 1960’s and 70’s, these are the statistics and added costs that have kept this plant running;

Construction costs: $650 million, including $200 million in environmental-control equipment. An additional $420 million was spent on new sulfur dioxide (SO2) scrubbers in the 1990s, and $45 million in 2009-11 to reduce nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions.

Air quality and emissions: NGS complies with all federal air quality standards and emission limitations. Electrostatic precipitators capture 99% of the fly ash, which is recycled for use in concrete, cement and other construction materials.

Limestone scrubbers remove over 90% of SO2 emissions. Installation of low NOx burners and separated overfire air technology reduces NOx emissions by approximately 40%.

The following link is what SRP’s website says about the plant.


The City of Los Angeles is selling their share in the NGS to SRP!

Al Gore Recently visited LA where he congratulated the City on their move away from Coal Burning Power Plants.  In particular, their interest in the Navajo Generating Plant. One of the main reasons LA is selling their interest is that the EPA has ordered the NGS to reduce its emissions that contribute to the haze in the Grand Canyon and other areas of Northern Arizona.  It is anticipated that to clean this power plant it will cost anywhere from 600 Million to 1.1 Billion Dollars! 

See the March article in the Arizona Republic.


The Sierra Club Calls it the  largest and dirtiest coal plant in the state!

This is what their blog says…

The 2,250-megawatt Navajo Generating Station, near Page, Arizona, is the largest and dirtiest coal plant in the state. People who live nearby are surrounded by pollution blown from the stacks, which can trigger asthma attacks and contribute to other breathing problems. Clean Air Task Force estimates that pollution from Navajo Generating Station contributes to 16 premature deaths, 25 heart attacks, 300 asthma attacks, and 15 asthma emergency room visits each year, with total annual health costs of over $127 million.

The Navajo Generating Station is less than 12 miles from Grand Canyon National Park. When the wind blows toward the canyon, the coal plant becomes a major source of industrial haze in the park. When the wind blows other directions, Navajo’s emissions pollute ten protected parks and wilderness areas throughout the Southwest, including Mesa Verde and Canyonlands national parks. The Navajo coal plant is also the largest single source of climate-disrupting pollution in Arizona, and the eighth largest single source in the United States.


How many Coal Burning Electric Generating plants are there in Arizona you might ask!        

Six that are currently in operation.

Source Watch provides the information and background on all the plants located in Arizona.


Arizona and Coal

Source Watch goes on to list all the states in the Union and their Coal Burning plants.  Arizona ranks 17th in total power produced, while Vermont and Rhode Island have no Coal Burning plants at all.  Texas  produces the most!


With all this in mind enjoy the photos I took of the Navajo Generating Plant!

The by product of burning fossil fuels appear benign enough.  The steam coming from the photos do contain the gases that are generally invisible however very dangerous to our atmosphere.

Wiki says of this process the following;

Byproducts of thermal power plant operation must be considered in their design and operation. Waste heat energy, which remains due to the finite efficiency of the Carnot, Rankine, or Diesel power cycle, is released directly to the atmosphere, directly to river or lake water, or indirectly to the atmosphere using a cooling tower with river or lake water used as a cooling medium. The flue gas from combustion of the fossil fuels is discharged to the air. This gas contains carbon dioxide, water vapour, as well as substances such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), mercury, traces of other metals, and, for coal-fired plants, fly ash. Solid waste ash from coal-fired boilers must also be removed. Some coal ash can be recycled for building materials.[2]

West Wind

West Wind

South Wind

South Wind

Northwest Wind

Northwest Wind

North Wind

North Wind

There is a cloud no matter which way the wind blows!


About rsingram

Environmental Specialist, Disaster Reservist, Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, Para-Archeologist
This entry was posted in Northern Arizona, Pollution and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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