HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 13, 2003 — Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty has announced a settlement with PPL Corp. and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to substantially reduce sulfur dioxide emissions at PPL’s Martins Creek power plant in Northampton County.
The agreement will settle an appeal filed by New Jersey of an air quality plan approval, which is pending before Pennsylvania’s Environmental Hearing Board.
“I commend everyone involved in reaching this agreement, which will mean cleaner air for the people of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and will keep good jobs in Pennsylvania,” Secretary McGinty said.
Under terms of the agreement, PPL will permanently shut down, or re-power with clean coal technology, the two existing coal-fired generating units at the Martins Creek plant by Sept. 15, 2007. PPL also will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from Martins Creek by reducing their permitted emission limits for the two coal-fired units by 20 percent, and for the plant’s two oil-fired units by 30 percent, no later than May 1, 2004. Pennsylvania coal will still be used to supply the two coal-fired generators when they switch to lower sulfur coal next year.
“This agreement will remove New Jersey’s appeal of the air quality permit we have approved for the construction of PPL’s planned 600-megawatt, state-of- the-art low-emitting natural-gas fired facility, to be known as the Lower Mount Bethel Energy power plant, which is being built adjacent to the Martins Creek plant,” Secretary McGinty said.
The September 2007 shutdown or re-powering of the coal-fired units will result in improved public health and air quality benefits because of reduced emission of air pollutants. These emission reductions are beyond federal or state environmental requirements.
Therefore, PPL could, by law, sell these “credits” to another firm. However, as part of the agreement, PPL has agreed to “retire” these credits. They will be donated to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, a nonprofit environmental organization, and permanently retired, meaning these emissions will never be released into the atmosphere.
“PPL is showing that it is a corporate citizen that cares about the environment by retiring these emissions credits,” Secretary McGinty said. “And PPL will continue to provide good, family-supporting jobs in the Lehigh Valley,” Secretary McGinty added.
The New Jersey DEP believes the sulfur dioxide emission reductions from this agreement would not be causing nonattainment of the national ambient air quality standard in Warren County, New Jersey, and New Jersey will be asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to re-designate Warren County as an attainment area after PPL satisfies its obligations under the agreement.