EPA seeks comment on new factors in West Virginia SIP revision

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a supplement to its proposed approval of a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP).

West Virginia’s SIP revision addresses requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and EPA’s rules that require states to submit periodic reports describing progress towards reasonable progress goals established for regional haze and a determination of the adequacy of the state’s existing implementation plan addressing regional haze, the agency noted in a notice to be published in the March 10 Federal Register. EPA’s proposed approval of West Virginia’s periodic report on progress towards reasonable progress goals and determination of adequacy of the state’s regional haze SIP was published in the Federal Register in March 2014.

This supplemental proposal addresses the potential effects on EPA’s proposed approval from the April 2014 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court remanding to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) for further proceedings and the D.C. Circuit’s decision to lift the stay of CSAPR.

Throughout years of litigation, EPA has continued to implement CAIR. Thus, at the time that West Virginia submitted its progress report SIP revision, CAIR was in effect, and the state included an assessment of the emission reductions from the implementation of CAIR in its report. The progress report discussed the status of the litigation concerningthe Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) and CSAPR, but because CSAPR was not at that time in effect, West Virginia did not take emissions reductions from CSAPR into account in assessing its regional haze implementation plan. For the same reason, in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR), EPA did not assess at that time the impact of CSAPR or its Fedral Implementation Plan (FIP) on the ability of West Virginia and its neighbors to meet their reasonable progress goals.

Given the complex background involved here, EPA is proposing to determine that West Virginia appropriately took CAIR into account in its progress report SIP in describing the status of the implementation of measures included in its regional haze SIP and in summarizing the emissions reductions achieved. CAIR was in effect during the 2008-2013 period addressed by West Virginia’s progress report. EPA approved West Virginia’s regulations implementing CAIR as part of the West Virginia SIP in 2009, and neither West Virginia nor EPA has taken any action to remove CAIR from the West Virginia SIP. Therefore, EPA said that West Virginia appropriately evaluated and relied on CAIR reductions to demonstrate the state’s progress towards meeting its reasonable progress goals.

The visibility data provided by West Virginia show the Class I areas impacted by West Virginia sources are all currently on track to achieve their reasonable progress goals, EPA pointed out. Helping the state with its goals is the fact that many coal-fired power plants have announced plans to deactivate by April 2015 including several plants in West Virginia, including Albright, Kammer, Kanawha River, Phillip Sporn and Rivesville, as well as plants or individual units at plants in states neighboring West Virginia including Glen Lynn, Walter C. Beckjord, Muskingum River, Elrama, Clinch River, Eastlake, Ashtabula, and Big Sandy.

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.