Comment period closes on EPA’s Wyoming regional haze plan

Basin Electric Power Cooperative – August 30, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency’s public comment period on its re-proposed Wyoming Regional Haze rule ended Aug. 26. 

During the comment period, 24,032 comments were submitted to the EPA. Nearly 1,000 of those letters were submitted, a collaboration between Basin ElectricMissouri Basin Power ProjectPacifiCorpRocky Mountain Powerand the Wyoming Rural Electric Association.

EPA issued a re-proposed federal implementation plan (FIP) on May 23 to require additional expensive emission control technology at Laramie River Station near Wheatland, WY.

The EPA’s re-proposed FIP partially approves and partially disapproves Wyoming’s state implementation plan (SIP) for regional haze regulation under the Clean Air Act. 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 Department of Environmental Quality (WYDEQ) previously submitted its SIP to the EPA addressing regional haze, which focuses on nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter. In June 2012, the EPA published its first proposed technology and emissions requirements for Wyoming’s coal-based power plant facilities.

If the EPA’s FIP is approved as re-proposed May 23, the three units at Laramie River would need to add selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to reach full compliance. Written comments submitted by Sargent & Lundy indicated the capital cost to install SCR technology at Laramie River at about $747 million, with an annual operation cost of about $86 million.

The official version of the EPA’s proposed rule in the Federal Register appears on the Government Printing Office’s FDSys website and on in Docket No. EPA-R08-OAR-2012-0026. 

The EPA held public hearings June 25 and July 17 in Cheyenne, WY, and July 26 in Casper, WY. Brian Larson, Laramie River Station plant manager, provided testimony at the hearing in Casper.

“By 2017, the Wyoming regional haze plan will have required the station (Laramie River) to reduce its NOx emission rate by 65 percent from the NOx rate emitted when the units were originally started up,” Larson said. “This demonstrates that the State of Wyoming has achieved very substantial NOx emission reductions without undue and wasteful expense.”

The EPA will weigh the comments and make a decision on the re-proposed rule by Nov. 21.

Click here to learn more about EPA regulations that affect Basin Electric.