Justice modifies Kentucky Utilities deal on Brown emissions

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a March 16 Federal Register notice that it has modified a consent decree with the Kentucky Utilities unit of PPL Corp. (NYSE:PPL) related to emissions from the coal-fired E.W. Brown power plant.

On March 12, a proposed stipulated order covering a modification of the consent decree between Kentucky Utilities and the federal government was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The original consent decree, which was entered by the court in March 2009, resolved a complaint that alleged that Kentucky Utilities violated Prevention of Significant Deterioration and other provisions of the Clean Air Act in connection with its operation of the E.W. Brown plant in Mercer County, Ky.

Under the consent decree, Kentucky Utilities agreed to perform various compliance measures at E.W. Brown and committed to pay a civil penalty of $1.4m and complete certain environmental mitigation projects at a cost of $3m. For reasons beyond Kentucky Utilities’ control, however, it could not perform one of the mitigation projects, which was spending $1m to retrofit diesel school buses in Kentucky with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-verified emissions control technologies. KU just couldn’t line up the school systems willing to work with it on these projects.

The March 12 court filing outlines substitute mitigation projects that Kentucky Utilities will perform. Specifically, Kentucky Utilities will spend about $400,000 on the procurement of plug-in electric vehicles for its corporate fleet, and about $600,000 on the replacement of one or more coal-fired boilers at Kentucky public schools. Finally, if needed, it will spend up to $200,000 in funding forest restoration activities by the U.S. Forest Service.

The Department of Justice will now take 30 days of public comment, until April 16, on this consent decree change.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.