Rural Utilities Service to write EIS on 77-MW Puerto Rico power project

The U.S. Rural Utilities Service said in a notice to be published in the Nov. 28 Federal Register that it will do its own environmental review of a 77-MW, waste-fired project in Puerto Rico.

In April 2013, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) published a Notice of Intent (NOI) announcing its intent to prepare a Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement (SFEIS) in association with a financial assistance request for a proposal submitted by Energy Answers Arecibo LLC. RUS said it is now cancelling its NOI for the SFEIS.

RUS intends from here to conduct public scoping and prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in connection with potential impacts related  to the Energy Answers proposal. The proposal consists of constructing a waste-to-energy generation and resource recovery facility in the Cambalache Ward of Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

RUS is considering funding this application, thereby making the proposal an undertaking subject to review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and its implementing regulation, “Protection of Historic Properties.” Any party wishing to participate directly with RUS as a “consulting party” in Section 106 review may submit a written request to the RUS. RUS will eventually publish a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project.

RUS intends to incorporate by reference the environmental impact analyses and documentation prepared by the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. (PRIDCO). PRIDCO served as a lead agency in preparation of an EIS prepared under the Puerto Rico Environmental Public Policy Act. RUS has copies of this EIS and all associated appendices.

RUS also intends to incorporate by reference all of the environmental impact and air quality analyses and responses to public comments prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) as part of its Clean Air Act, Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit. USEPA issued a final PSD permit in June 2013.

The proposed facility would process approximately 2,100 tons of municipal waste per day and generate a net capacity of 77 MW. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority will purchase the power generated from the facility. The preferred location of the facility is the former site of the Global Fibers Paper Mill and would encompass approximately 79.6 acres of the 90-acre parcel. The proposal would include: a municipal solid waste receiving and processing building; processed refuse fuel storage building; boiler and steam turbine; emission control system; ash processing and storage building; and other associated infrastructure and buildings.

Two other connected actions, which would be constructed by other utilities, include installation of an approximately 2.0-mile raw water line and construction of a 38-kV transmission line approximately 0.8 miles in length. The connected actions will also be addressed in the EIS.

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.