Basin Electric says EPA needs to stick with cheaper haze plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held a public hearing on June 24 in Cheyenne, Wyo., on its re-proposed rulemaking for the state of Wyoming for regional haze regulation, with Basin Electric Power Cooperative one of the parties providing input.

Pat Day from Holland & Hart, Basin Electric’s counsel, spoke on behalf of Basin Electric at the hearing.

“For EPA to propose a federal implementation plan requiring SCR (selective catalytic reduction), then change its mind and approve the state’s selection of SNCR (selective non-catalytic reduction), then change its mind again and impose SCR, would be the height of arbitrary behavior and would torture both the states and the regulated industries who have endured years of uncertainty over hundreds of millions of dollars in potential control costs,” Day said. “The very fact that EPA has embarked on this new procedural reconsideration proves the importance of deferring to the state’s BART (best available retrofit technology) determination in the first instance.”

The hearing also included comments from Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead’s office, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, other owners besides Basin Electric of the coal-fired Laramie River Station, located near Wheatland, Wyo., and PacifiCorp, Wyoming’s largest power provider.

EPA issued a re-proposed federal implementation plan (FIP) on May 23 to require additional expensive emission control technology at Laramie River. The re-proposed FIP partially approves and partially disapproves Wyoming’s state implementation plan (SIP) for regional haze. Approval of the re-proposed FIP would cost Basin Electric hundreds of millions of dollars in emission control upgrades to Laramie River, which Basin Electric owns with five other participants of the Missouri Basin Power Project (MBPP). Basin Electric is the operator of the facility.

The Wyoming DEQ previously submitted its SIP to the EPA addressing regional haze, which focuses on NOx, SO2 and particulate matter. In June 2012, the EPA published its first proposed technology and emissions requirements for Wyoming’s coal-based power plants.

If the EPA’s recent FIP is approved as re-proposed May 23, the three units at Laramie River would need to add SCR technology to reach full compliance, Basin noted in a June 28 statement. The exact additional cost of installing SCR technology is not known at this time, though it is anticipated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than SNCR.

Written comments the proposed FIP must be received by the EPA on or before Aug. 9.

The Laramie River Station is one of the largest consumer-operated, regional, joint power supply ventures in the U.S. It has three coal-based units: Unit 1 (570 MW net), began operating in 1980; Unit 2 (570 MW net), began operating in 1981; and Unit 3 (570 MW net), began operating in 1982.

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.