Monday, August 20, 2007

The politics of Indian coal: Red and Green has Richardson Black and Blue

THE cornerstone of Bill Richardson's campaign for the Democratic nomination has been his efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. Under his tenure as governor, New Mexico has set some of the country's toughest greenhouse-gas reduction mandates and renewable-energy standards.

So it seems odd that until very recently, he has been silent about plans to build a 1,500-MW coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation, a vast swathe of territory that straddles New Mexico and Arizona. The plant, Desert Rock, is owned jointly by the tribe's power authority and Houston-based Sithe Global Power, which in turn is majority-owned by Blackstone, a large private-equity firm. The facility would spew out up to 11.5m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year as it feeds the power needs of the booming south-west, primarily around Phoenix and Las Vegas....

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