The Stream, December 29, 2020: Coal Power In The American West Is Crumbling


  • A coal-power plant in Arizona that once fed Colorado River water to Phoenix is demolished.
  • Storm Bella brings high waves and flood warnings to coastal United Kingdom
  • Over 260 people near Quebec City, Canada were evacuated from their homes on Christmas Day due to rising water levels in nearby rivers.
  • A new report finds major weather disasters in 2020 cost over $150 billion globally.

The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act is signed into law.

“For many years, our Navajo people from the grassroots level all the way to the highest levels of our government have fought hard to negotiate our water rights and bring clean water to our communities in the state of Utah. We are overjoyed that the combined efforts of many have finally paid off with today’s historic signing of the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act. This is a victory for all of the Navajo families and leaders from the state of Utah and for the entire Navajo Nation.” – Navajo President Jonathan Nez. The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act was signed into law this week as part of the 2021 appropriations package. ABC4 reports that the bill, also confirms the Nation’s right to 81,500 acre-feet of water each year from Utah’s Colorado River Basin, in addition to providing $220 million in funds to bring clean drinking water to Navajo communities in Utah.


EPA Revises Rules for Lead in Drinking Water – EPA strengthens some provisions but does not take the bigger step of requiring replacement of all lead services line.

Destruction of Coal-Power Plant In Arizona Signals The American West’s Quest for Clean Energy

The Navajo Generating Station was demolished last week, a coal-fired plant that for years generated huge amounts of electricity for Los Angeles and powered pumps that carried water from the Colorado River to Phoenix. The plant stopped producing power last year, a victory for environmentalists who have long opposed the operation. The Navajo Generating Station is one of many coal-power plants in the American West that has shut down in recent months, during a year the Los Angeles Times calls “another tumultuous year for coal,” an industry that is losing out to cleaner energy sources.



The Meteorological Office, the United Kingdom’s national weather service, has issued 112 flood warnings across the U.K. in response to Storm Bella, The Guardian reports. High speed winds that reached 100 mph forced communities to erect flood defenses to counter high waves over the weekend and power outages were recorded in several cities. Early stages of the storm forced some to evacuate their homes on Christmas Day, while meteorologists are warning the snow and ice could pose a risk to central and southern areas of England later this week.


On Christmas Day, 266 people living in the Quebec City area were forced to evacuate their homes due to rising water levels in nearby rivers. The Canadian Press reports that warm weather and intense rainfall caused flooding in 19 municipalities between Thursday and Saturday of last week. Officials are now offering financial assistance to those affected and are continuing to urge caution as damages are assessed.


A new report from Christian Aid found that weather disasters in 2020, including flooding, hurricanes and typhoons, cost nearly 150 billion dollars across the globe. The report explored the top 10 most disastrous weather events of the year, including flooding in major countries like China and India and the fallout of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season. The report concludes with three major recommendations, which include cutting greenhouse gas emissions, wealthy countries funding climate resiliency programs in poorer countries and investing in renewable energy.

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