EPA approves haze plan that includes coal-to-gas switch by Eastman

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing approval of the Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) requirements for an Eastman Chemical Co. plant in Tennessee that contemplates a possible coal-to-gas conversion at an on-site power plant.

These requirements were provided in a revision to the Tennessee State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted by the Tennessee Department Environment and Conservation (TDEC) in April 2008, as later modified and supplemented on May 14, 2012, and May 25, 2012, the agency noted in a Nov. 27 Federal Register notice. EPA previously proposed action on the BART requirements for Eastman in association with action on Tennessee’s April 2008 regional haze SIP revision. On April 24, 2012, EPA took final action on all aspects of the April 2008 SIP revision except for the BART requirements for Eastman.

The May 14, 2012, SIP revision (as clarified in a May 25, 2012, SIP revision) changed the compliance date for the Eastman BART determination included in Tennessee’s April 2008 SIP revision and provided a BART alternative determination option for Eastman. EPA is now finalizing approval of the BART requirements for Eastman. This rule will be effective Dec. 27, 2012.

After publication of EPA’s June 2011 proposed action on Tennessee’s regional haze SIP revision, the state and Eastman entered into discussions regarding a BART alternative determination that would give Eastman the option to comply with the regional haze BART requirements by converting its B–253 Powerhouse to natural gas in lieu of continuing to use coal and retrofitting its facility with emissions controls pursuant to the BART determination for SO2 emissions.

On May 14, 2012, TDEC submitted a modification and supplement to its April 2008 Tennessee regional haze plan to address BART requirements for Eastman. On May 25, 2012, Tennessee modified the permit to clarify that Eastman would fully implement BART or notify TDEC and EP of the selection of the Eastman BART alternative determination no later than April 30, 2017.

In summary, Tennessee’s May 14, 2012, SIP revision:

  • modifies the final compliance date to April 30, 2017, for the original Eastman BART determination; and
  • establishes a BART alternative determination option for Eastman to convert its B–253 Powerhouse (Boilers 25–29) to burn natural gas.

The May 14, 2012, SIP revision and Eastman’s Clean Air Act title V operating permit stipulate that if Eastman elects to implement the BART alternative instead of the original BART determination, Eastman must begin construction on the BART alternative prior to April 30, 2017, and complete construction no later than the earlier of: Dec. 31, 2018; the end of the period of the first long-term strategy for regional haze as determined by EPA; or the compliance deadline for the one-hour SO2 national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS).

Tennessee’s May 14, 2012, SIP revision (as clarified in a May 25, 2012, SIP revision) also stipulates that if Eastman elects to implement the original Eastman BART determination instead of the Eastman BART alternative, it must comply with the BART requirements by April 30, 2017.

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.