Air Pollution Control Equipment Services, Emissions

Sierra Club wins appeal of coal plant air permit

13 November 2008 — In a case with national implications, the Environmental Appeals Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ruled that the EPA had no valid reason for refusing to require that best available control technology be used to limit carbon dioxide emissions from a coal-fired power plant proposed in Utah.

The Sierra Club in May asked that the air permit issued by EPA Region 8 for Deseret Power Electric Cooperative’s proposed waste coal-fired power plant be overturned because it failed to require controls on carbon dioxide emissions.

As permitted, Deseret Power’s 110 MW Bonanza plant would have emitted 3.37 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. It would be located next to the existing Bonanza Power Plant on Bureau of Indian Affairs land.

In its ruling, the three-member board sent the air permit back to EPA Region 8 for reconsideration of how best available control technology, or BACT, should be used to limit carbon dioxide emissions at the proposed power plant.

The decision follows a 2007 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court recognizing that carbon dioxide is a pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act and can be subject to regulation by the EPA.

EPA Region 8 argued that it does not have the authority to impose a CO2 best available control technology limit because the regulations only require monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions, not actual control.

Stories of interest:

Bonanza coal plant wins EPA permit

EPA settles with PSEG for coal-fired plant violations