EPA agrees to rule on complaint over landfill-gas power plant in New York

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has worked out a deal to formally respond to a local citizens group complaint about an air permit issued to Seneca Energy II LLC for a landfill-gas-fired power facility in New York.

The Finger Lakes Zero Waste Coalition and private citizen Katherine M. Bennett Roll filed a lawsuit in September 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Plaintiffs filed this complaint alleging that Gina McCarthy, in her official capacity as Administrator of the EPA, failed to perform a non-discretionary duty to grant or deny within 60 days a petition submitted by plaintiffs. In their petition, plaintiffs requested that EPA object to a Clean Air Act Title V permit issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to Seneca Energy II, for purposes of operating a landfill gas-to-energy facility in Stanley, New York.

The proposed settlement agreement would establish a deadline for EPA to respond to this petition. EPA will take comment on this proposed settlement for 30 days after the Feb. 6 publication of notice in the Federal Register.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, EPA would agree to sign a response to the petition by June 30, 2015. The proposed settlement also provides for the possibility that circumstances beyond EPA’s reasonable control could delay compliance with the June 30, 2015, deadline, and provides a framework for extending that deadline.

Plaintiffs’ petition alleges, among other things, that the Title V permit issued for the landfill gas-to-energy facility is based on an incomplete permit application, fails to include adequate monitoring and reporting of compliance with air quality requirements, and illegally sanctions the violation of applicable requirements under the Act.

In December 2012, plaintiffs filed a petition with EPA seeking EPA’s objection to the Title V operating permit issued by NYSDEC to the Ontario County Landfill Gas-to-Energy Facility, which is operated by Seneca Energy II.

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.