Wyoming utilities mount P.R. campaign against EPA haze plan

Basin Electric Power Cooperative said July 9 that a coalition of organizations committed to keeping electricity rates reasonable through the viability of coal has launched a campaign throughout Wyoming about the potential impacts of a proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “takeover” of the state’s clean air program.

Wyoming for Affordable Power is made up of Basin Electric, the Missouri Basin Power Project, PacifiCorp, 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 website allows people to submit comments, asking EPA to acknowledge and respect Wyoming’s authority and discretion to make its own decisions regarding its clean air programs.

At issue is Wyoming’s compliance with the regional haze rules of the Clean Air Act. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality previously submitted a plan to the EPA addressing regional haze, which focuses on reduction in NOx, SO2 and particulate matter levels from Wyoming power plants.

The EPA, however, 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.

According to a statement from Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead’s office read during a June 24 public hearing held by EPA in Cheyenne: “The total capital cost will be more than $1 billion. … This is greatly more expensive than the State’s plan, even though EPA’s rule delivers no meaningful improvements to air visibility.”

According to the Wyoming DEQ, the federal requirements proposed by EPA would result in insignificant visibility differences.

Written comments on the haze plan must be received by the EPA on or before Aug. 26.

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.