Basin Electric supports Enzi proposal on regional haze cost limits

Basin Electric Power Cooperative CEO and General Manager Andrew Serri sent a Sept. 16 letter to U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., in support of Enzi’s proposed amendment regarding regional haze and its impact on coal-fired power.

The letter supports S.A. 1903, which amends the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013 (S. 1392). Enzi’s proposed amendment states that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must demonstrate, using best available science, that a federal implementation plan action governing a specific source results in at least a 1.0 deciview improvement in any Class I area, when compared to the state plan.

The proposed amendment also says that the federal plan must not result in an economic cost greater than $100m in any fiscal year or $300m in the aggregate, when compared to the state plan.

“This amendment addresses an important policy issue and would properly recalibrate the relationship between the states and the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the implementation of plans to mitigate regional haze,” Serri wrote in the letter.

On May 23, EPA issued a re-proposed federal implementation plan (FIP) that partially approves and partially disapproves Wyoming’s state implementation plan (SIP). The FIP would cost upwards of $1bn in capital costs and hundreds of millions in annual operating costs at facilities across Wyoming, Basin Electric noted. Capital costs at coal-fired Laramie River Station alone are estimated at more than $750m. Basin Electric is part owner of Laramie River and the plant operator.

Wyoming submitted its original state plan in January 2011. In June 2012, EPA proposed to partially approve and partially disapprove Wyoming’s plan and to impose a FIP for certain facilities.

In May 2013, EPA issued a re-proposed FIP for Wyoming. Under the 2013 proposal, EPA would impose more control requirements on more Wyoming facilities at a greater cost. EPA has held three hearings on the issue in Wyoming since the re-proposal.

“Basin Electric strongly supports your effort to ensure that the Clean Air Act is implemented as intended and to give states deference in achieving the goals of the statute,” Serri said in the letter to Enzi. “We support your amendment and appreciate your commitment to common sense regulation.”

Said Enzi in a Sept. 11 statement about his amendment: “The proposal by the EPA ignores more than a decade’s worth of work on this subject by my home state and seems to be more designed to regulate coal out of existence than to regulate haze. The haze we most need to regulate, in fact, seems to be the one that is clouding the vision of the EPA as it promotes a plan that would impose onerous regulations on power plants that will in turn pass those increased costs, in the form of higher energy prices, on to consumers.”

He added: “My amendment is simple and straight forward. It promotes the right of each state to deal with its own problems. By preventing regulatory overreach it places the first response to the issue of regional haze where it properly belongs – in the hands of the state officials who are more familiar with the problem and the best way to address it.”

The EPA has disapproved the state’s plan for addressing NOx and particulate matter and the FIP requires additional expensive emission control technology at coal-fired power plants throughout Wyoming. The 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.