Monday, October 31, 2011

New Jersey Petition To Limit Emissions From Pennsylvania Power Plant Granted

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted a petition submitted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to limit sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from a Pennsylvania power plant. It was determined that emissions from the plant are adversely impacting air quality in Warren, Sussex, Morris and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. This action is the first single-source petition EPA has granted and it will require the Portland Generating Station in Northampton County, PA to reduce its SO2 emissions within three years.

The final rule allows the Portland plant to choose the most cost-effective strategy for meeting these limits, including installing proven and widely available pollution control technologies. The two units covered under this rule are large sources of SO2 emissions in the region, are about 50 years old and are currently among the 44 % of coal-fired units in the country that do not have advanced pollution controls installed to limit emissions. Actions taken to meet these limits are similar to those that the facility would need consider taking to meet the recently finalized Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the upcoming Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

Under the Clean Air Act, when a facility’s emissions impact air quality in another state, the affected state can petition EPA and request that the facility be required to reduce its impact. If EPA finds that the emissions do contribute to an air quality problem, the agency must set emissions limits that will eliminate this contribution. In a September 2010 petition, New Jersey asked EPA to find that emissions from the Portland power plant are impacting the state’s air quality and to require the facility to reduce its SO2 emissions. EPA proposed to grant the petition in March 2011.

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