EPA agrees to rule by July 31 on complaint over permit for Schiller coal plant

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has worked out a proposed consent decree to address a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club over emissions from the coal-fired Schiller power plant in New Hampshire.

In December 2014, the Sierra Club had filed a 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 Sierra Club in July 2014 requesting that EPA object to a Clean Air Act Title V permit issued by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services for Public Service Co. of New Hampshire’s Schiller plant. The proposed consent decree would establish a deadline for EPA to take such action, said EPA in a notice to be published in the May 13 Federal Register.

Written comments on the proposed consent decree must be received within 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Under the terms of the proposed consent decree, EPA would agree to sign its response granting or denying the petition filed by the Sierra Club regarding Schiller on or before July 31, 2015. EPA would expeditiously deliver notice of EPA’s response to the Federal Register for review and publication following signature of such response.

In addition, the proposed consent decree outlines the procedure for the plaintiff to request costs of litigation, including attorney fees. EPA or the Department of Justice may withdraw or withhold consent to the proposed consent decree if the comments disclose facts or considerations that indicate that such consent is inappropriate, improper, inadequate, or inconsistent with the requirements of the Act. Unless EPA or the Department of Justice determines that consent to this consent decree should be withdrawn, the terms of the consent decree will be affirmed.

Schiller has a rated output of 150 MW and is capable of burning coal, oil or wood chips. Schiller in recent years has undergone millions of dollars in environmental retrofits, including the installation of electrostatic precipitators (to remove particulates) and Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction equipment (to reduce NOx emissions).

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.