Board opts for limited remand of air permit for Puerto Rico project

The U.S. Environmental Appeals Board has partially remanded to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional office an air permit issued for the 77-MW Energy Answers Arecibo LLC project in Puerto Rico.

The permit authorizes Energy Answers to construct and operate a new resource recovery facility in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, utilizing two 1,050 tons per day (each) refuse-derived fuel municipal waste combustors, a 77-MW steam turbine electrical generator, and ancillary equipment. This project would be a new resource recovery facility at the former site of the Global Fibers Paper Mill.

There were five petitions seeking review of the Clean Air Act Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit that EPA’s Region 2 issued to Energy Answers Arecibo on June 11, 2013. Petitioners raised numerous issues challenging various aspects of the permit decision including the permit’s scope, the region’s environmental justice consideration, the region’s compliance with the public participation requirements of the PSD permitting program, the content of the administrative record, and the region’s substantive consideration of the permit, including specific permit conditions.

“The Board remands the Permit for the limited purpose of including regulation of biogenic greenhouse gas emissions and does not require the Region to reopen the Permit for public comment,” said the March 25 board decision. “The Board denies the Petitions for Review on all other grounds.”

Among other things, the board said that the region properly excluded lead emissions from the PSD permitting process because the municipality of Arecibo has been designated as a nonattainment area for lead, and thus, lead emissions are not subject to the PSD process. The board also concluded that the questions petitioners raised regarding the applicability of the nonattainment New Source Review permitting program to the proposed facility lie outside the board’s authority to decide.

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.