RENO — State environmental regulators have decided to let a coalition of environmental groups take part in a review of agreements with three companies that want to build coal-fired power plants in Nevada.
The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection took the action a week after the coalition known as Nevadans for Clean, Affordable, Reliable Energy sent a letter to the state seeking to open the process to the public.
The coalition, which includes the Sierra Club and Citizen Alert, has until Friday to comment on the draft memorandums of understanding between the environmental protection division and Sierra Pacific Resources, LS Power Associates and Sithe Global Power.
The memorandums would require the companies to capture carbon dioxide once the technology becomes commercially feasible. They also would require the power plants to be designed so that they can be retrofitted with technology to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
State environmental protection administrator Leo M. Drozdoff said environmentalists' request to participate in the process could have been rejected because it came more than seven weeks after the agency indicated that it wanted to complete the memorandums by late October.
"However, because NDEP believes that government should be held to a higher standard and because climate change is an important issue to many Nevadans, NDEP will go the extra mile and allow the environmental groups to comment," Drozdoff said.
Charles Benjamin, coalition president, said he was pleased the group was given a chance to comment, but disappointed the general public wasn't given the same opportunity.