Footprint argues again for quick resolution of air permit appeal

Footprint Power Salem Harbor Development LP in an Aug. 1 brief filed at the U.S. Environmental Appeals Board again urged the board take quick action so it can get its repowering of the Salem Harbor power plant in Massachusetts underway.

Local environmental factions earlier this year appealed an air permit issued by the state of Massachusetts for the gas-fired, combined-cycle project. Footprint at the time said that construction of this project needed to begin soon to meet power needs in the ISO New England region.

The board recently had EPA file a brief on one narrow issue in the permit. In its Aug. 1 brief, Footprint supported EPA’s brief on that subject, noting that: “All other state and local permits are final and non-appealable. This proceeding represents the sole remaining permitting issue preventing construction of the Facility. Footprint respectfully requests that the Board expedite its resolution of this appeal.”

That limited issue regards the application of best available control technology (BACT) to potential volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions from a new major stationary source. The petitioners claim the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) erred in removing a proposed VOCs emissions limit from the PSD permit. Both MassDEP and Footprint argued that there was no error in removing the VOCs limit from the PSD permit because Footprint’s proposed facility’s potential VOCs emissions are below the PSD threshold of 40 tons per year (tpy).

EPA on July 25 filed a supplemental brief with the board which fully supports the position advocated by MassDEP and Footprint that BACT was not required for VOCs because the VOCs emissions from the proposed facility are below the 40 tpy threshold for PSD review.

Said an Aug. 1 brief from the petitioning environmental factions: “The petitioners respectfully submit that the answer to the Board’s question is that, where any ozone precursor is emitted in a significant amount, ozone is subject to BACT, and requires evaluation of limits on all ozone precursors.”

MassDEP filed a July 31 brief of its own supporting EPA’s conclusion.

Footprint proposes to revitalize an oil- and coal-fired facility on a waterfront parcel of land in Salem, Mass. Footprint proposes to demolish the old Salem Harbor Power Station, and to construct and operate a state-of-the-art, nominal 630 MW (692 MW with duct firing) natural gas-fired combined-cycle generating facility, with quick start capability.

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.