EPA hears from critics of Wyoming haze plan at July 17 hearing

Basin Electric Power Cooperative CEO and General Manager Andrew Serri testified along with Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead and various other officials at a regional haze hearing that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held on July 17 in Cheyenne, Wyo.

The hearing is the first of two being hosted by EPA to take comments on the agency’s re-proposal to bypass the state implementation plan submitted by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for regional haze, and instead force a federal implementation plan, Basin Electric noted in a July 19 statement about the hearing. EPA’s plan equates to more than $1bn in capital costs over and above the state plan and millions more in annual operating costs, Basin added.

In his comments, Serri expressed Basin Electric’s concern for the cooperative’s member-owners, who would be burdened by the cost of EPA’s plan. “We are not here to make a profit; we are here to serve rural America with reliable, affordable electricity, while making our communities better for the next generation,” he said.

Serri added: “Wyoming developed a highly effective state implementation plan for regional haze, and more than $70 million has already been spent on this plan. We support Gov. Mead and the state of Wyoming on this plan.”

Mead said: “I can’t think of a worse way to hurt those who are lower income or middle income and to make no difference. We are not talking about a health standard here, we’re talking about a visibility standard.”

A second hearing will be held July 26 at the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission in Casper, Wyo. EPA will take public comments through Aug. 26.

Basin Electric is part of a coalition of organizations that has launched a public campaign against EPA’s haze plan. Wyoming for Affordable Power members include Basin Electric, the Missouri Basin Power Project, PacifiCorp d/b/a Rocky Mountain Power and the Wyoming Rural Electric Assn. The group has launched “Stop EPA WY,” which includes statewide print, television and digital ads directing people to www.stopEPAWY.com.

The EPA disapproved the state’s plan for addressing NOx and particulate matter and has proposed a federal plan that requires additional expensive emission control technology at coal-fired power plants throughout Wyoming. The Missouri Basin Power Project’s Laramie River Station, along with PacifiCorp’s Dave Johnston, Jim Bridger, Naughton and Wyodak units are directly impacted by this proposed rule.

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.