The Nevada Public Utilities Commission is reviewing the plant's lifespan plan, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency is also considering modifications to its regional particulate emissions rules.

"We operate the Reid Gardner Generating Station in the best interests of our customers, in compliance with all federal and state laws, and in an environmentally responsible manner," the company statement said.

The plant is named for a former energy company employee not related to the senator.

Reid said he believes that despite technological upgrades by the company, the plant pollutes the air, and runoff from coal ash fouls water in the nearby Muddy River, which flows to the Colorado River and the Lake Mead reservoir behind Hoover Dam.

NV Energy spokesman Mark Severts denied that any water from the power plant site makes its way into the Muddy River.

Moapa Paiute Tribal Chairman William Anderson said members of the 320-person tribe and their families complain of respiratory and health problems.

"People more and more are dying every other month," he said. "We have to do something about it."

Local, state and federal health agencies haven't verified the tribe's complaints because sample sizes of health studies are small.

Reid said he expected NV Energy would warn of rate increases if the plant closes.

"There will be a hue and cry," he predicted. "'You can't do that.' 'It will increase your power bill.'"

"But it won't," he said. "They know that."

Bill Corcoran, regional director of the Sierra Club's "Beyond Coal" campaign, told reporters his organization recently submitted to the Nevada Plant a report that found closing the plant would save $59 million for the company and its ratepayers.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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