The Moapa River Indian Reservation, tribal home of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, sits about 30 miles north of Las Vegas and about 300 yards from the coal ash ponds and landfills of the Reid Gardner Power Station. Coal ash is the toxic ash and sludge left at the end of the coal burning process. It's laced with arsenic, mercury, lead and other heavy metals. It's the second largest waste stream in America and it's currently unregulated.
If the conditions are just wrong, coal ash picks up from Reid Gardner and moves across the desert like a toxic sandstorm sending the local residents running for their homes. The reservation has lung, heart and thyroid disease rates that are abnormally high and the power plant is currently seeking to expand its coal ash storage capability.
The film An Ill Wind tells the Paiute Indians' story.
View and interactive presentation of the story at:
And learn more about coal ash at:
Many thanks to the Moapa Band of Paiutes for allowing us to tell this story and to Vinny Spotleson of the Sierra Club and Dan Galpern of the Western Environmental Law Center for helping with the project.