Members of Congress from the Dakotas oppose EPA’s Wyoming haze plan

Members of Congress from North Dakota and South Dakota wrote U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Aug. 8 to oppose the agency’s plans to override the state of Wyoming’s efforts to reduce haze from power plants.

The EPA’s re-proposed federal implementation plan (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 Power Cooperative approximately $750m in emission control upgrades to the coal-fired Laramie River Station at Wheatland, Wyo., which Basin Electric owns with five other participants of the Missouri Basin Power Project. Basin Electric operates the facility, the cooperative noted in an Aug. 9 statement that supports the Aug. 8 letter from the members of Congress.

EPA’s plan “requires the installation of much more costly technology on several plants in the state,” said the lawmakers, including South Dakota Sens. John Thune and Tim Johnson, North Dakota Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp, South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem and North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer. The installation of that technology “could potentially be very costly to ratepayers across the region, including approximately 700,000 South Dakotans and North Dakotans, many of them living in rural areas in our states,” they wrote.

Several coal-fired power plants will be required to install selective catalytic reduction to reduce NOx levels, which the lawmakers said “could potentially amount to more than $1 billion in capital costs and millions of dollars in annual operating expenses.” Wyoming has in turn offered a plan calling “for upgrades that cost a fraction of that expenditure, with a negligible difference in benefits to visibility,” the letter said. The lawmakers asked EPA to revisit its decision.

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.