EPA rejects Utah SIP proposals for two PacifiCorp coal plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is partially approving and partially disapproving a Utah State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision, in the process adding new emissions control burdens for coal-fired capacity in the state.

These SIP revisions were submitted to address the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and EPA rules that require states to prevent any future and remedy any existing man-made impairment of visibility in mandatory Class I areas caused by emissions of air pollutants from numerous sources located over a wide geographic area (also referred to as the “regional haze program”). This final rule is effective Jan. 14, 2013, EPA said in a Dec. 14 Federal Register notice.

The agency published its notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register on May 16. In that notice, it provided a detailed description of the various regional haze requirements. EPA proposed to approve all sections of a May 26, 2011, SIP submittal, with the exception of the requirements pertaining to NOX and particulate matter (PM) best available retrofit technology (BART).

EPA proposed to disapprove the state’s NOX and PM BART determinations and limits for the following four coal-fired, subject-to-BART electric generating units (EGUs): PacifiCorp, Hunter Units 1-2; and PacifiCorp, Huntington Units 1-2. EPA proposed to disapprove these BART determinations because they do not comply with regulations pertaining to the factors that need to be considered as part of a BART determination. EPA also proposed to disapprove the state’s SIP because it does not contain the provisions necessary to make BART limits practically enforceable.

EPA also proposed to approve specific sections of the state’s Sept. 9, 2008, SIP submittal. It proposed to approve Utah Administrative Rules R307–250—Western Backstop Sulfur Dioxide Trading Program and R307–150—Emission Inventories. R307–250, in conjunction with the SIP, implements the backstop trading program provisions in accordance with the requirements of the regional haze rule (RHR). The purpose of R305–150 is to establish consistent emission inventory reporting requirements for stationary sources in Utah to determine whether SO2 emissions are below the SO2 milestones established for the trading program.

EPA received comments on the proposed rule that supported its proposed action and that were critical of the proposed action, and it addressed those comments in the Dec. 14 notice.

EPA is now approving all sections of the May 26, 2011, SIP submittal as meeting requirements, with the exception of the requirements pertaining to NOX and PM BART. EPA is disapproving the state’s NOX and PM BART determinations and limits for those four Hunter and Huntington coal units. EPA is also disapproving the state’s SIP because it does not contain the provisions necessary to make BART limits practically enforceable.

EPA is approving specific sections of the state’s Sept. 9, 2008, SIP submittal, including UAR R307–250—Western Backstop Sulfur Dioxide Trading Program and R307–150—Emission Inventories. It is taking no action on the rest of the Sept. 9, 2008, submittal as the May 26, 2011, submittal supersedes and replaces the remaining sections of the Sept. 9, 2008, SIP submittal.

“Most of the adverse comments we received concerning our proposed approval of the regional haze SIP pertained to our proposed approval of the SO2 backstop trading program and disapproval of the BART determinations for PacifiCorp Hunter Unit 1 and Unit 2, and PacifiCorp Huntington Unit 1 and Unit 2,” EPA noted. “However, the comments have not convinced us that the State did not meet the requirements of [federal regulations] that we proposed to approve or that the State met the requirements of the RHR or the CAA for which we proposed disapproval.”

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.