From The Arizona Republic (Ryan Randazzo). Click through for the photo gallery:
The demolition of the largest coal burner in the West is a milestone for environmentalists who fought, and continue to fight, to shift the country to renewable energy. But it was a somber moment for the hundreds of people who worked at the plant, some following multiple generations of family members before them, who benefited from the good-paying jobs.
When the plant was running at full capacity, the 775-foot-tall stacks were the third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation, but the coal-burning days for the station ended last year as utilities decided to purchase cheaper power from natural-gas plants and renewables like solar.
Now the stacks will no longer linger in the background of tourists’ photos at the famous Antelope Canyon slot canyons and Lake Powell.
The coal plant, and mine 80 miles away that fed it, employed about 750 people before operations began to wind down two years ago, and nearly all of the workers were Navajo and Hopi.
Hundreds of people lined the highways and cliff sides outside Page on Friday to watch the demolition, which sent a huge plume of dust creeping across the landscape…
…environmentalists have urged the plant’s closure for years, noting its contribution to climate-warming greenhouse gasses, the impact from the coal mine on the land and water, and the other pollutants that came out of the emissions stacks creating haze over the region.