A few weeks ago, CityLife published a cover story calling for the closure of the coal-fired Reid Gardner Generating Station in Moapa. Tomorrow, some of the groups that have been fighting that battle for years will picket outside the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, which is holding a consumer session where customers can air their thoughts. You can bet anti-Reid Gardner speakers will attend the session as well, just to make sure the commission knows where they stand as it considers the fate of the aging power plant.
As described in the story, the fate of the power plant is inextricably tied to the fate of the Moapa Paiutes who live next door. The tribe would like the plant closed and cleaned up, for coal ash landfills to be capped and contained so the reservation no longer has to contend with filthy -- and potentially dangerous -- fugitive dust.
If you want a better idea of how the power plant has affected the community, then check out Sierra magazine's stunning photo essay "The Cost of Coal." Photojournalist Ami Vitale visited communities in West Virginia, Michigan and Nevada to see how the coal industry has shaped and damaged their lives. The series documents the life-cycle of coal, from its extraction in West Virginia to the byproducts (coal ash) that are left over after its use. For the last stage, Vitale visited Moapa, where the community struggles with wind-blown ash. These photos bolster the case for closing Reid Gardner. Hopefully, tomorrow's testimony will do the same, and the PUC and NV Energy will end up doing the right thing for the Paiutes and for Nevada.