Several very encouraging news developments this week. Bill Gates is giving a speech in Davos about â€œcreative capitalism,â€ urging big companies to do more to fight poverty. Wal-Mart is stepping up its commitments to sustainability and moving to wring waste out of the health care system. And Whole Foods is getting rid of plastic bags.
Todayâ€™s Sustainability column, meanwhile, takes a look at the battles over coal plants across the Mountain West by focusing on two plants being proposed by The Blackstone Group, the big private equity fund run by Steve Schwarzman that went public last summer.
One of the Blackstone plants is proposed in partnership with the Navajo Nation. Mother Earth and Father Sky, meet King Coal.
Hereâ€™s how the column begins:
Throughout the West – in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming – battles are raging over proposed coal plants. Caught up in two big ones is The Blackstone Group, the global asset manager than went public last year.
Blackstone (BX) owns 80 percent of Sithe Global Power, an independent power producer. Sithe wants to build a 1,500-megawatt plant, known as Desert Rock, on land governed by the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. It also wants to build a 750-megawatt plant called Toquop in southeast Nevada.
If the plants are built – which is no sure thing – they would provide electricity to some of the nation’s fastest-growing areas, including Las Vegas and Phoenix. The Desert Rock plant would also deliver a much-needed economic injection into the Navajo Nation, America’s largest Indian reservation, many of whose 200,00 residents are poor.
You can read the rest here.