Sierra Club pressures Pa. governor for NOx limits at Brunner Island coal plant

PPL Corp.’s (NYSE: PPL) Brunner Island coal-fired power plant is the single largest source of dangerous smog-causing pollution in Southeastern Pennsylvania, according to a new analysis of pollution data released May 11 by the Sierra Club.

The club said that these findings highlight the need for strong clean air safeguards from the Brunner Island plant. According to pollution data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Brunner Island plant is the single-largest stationary source of dangerous smog-causing NOx in the region, responsible for nearly a third of all such pollution from facilities in Southeastern Pennsylvania counties.

This summer, Pennsyvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s Administration will finalize a new standard aimed at limiting smog-causing NOx pollution from coal-fired power plants, the largest source of this type of pollution in the state, the club noted. A recommendation by the Citizens Advisory Council on the proposed standard is expected later in May. The proposed rule would not require any pollution reductions from the Brunner Island plant, which is the only remaining large coal-fired power plant in the state that does not have modern pollution controls to limit dangerous smog-causing pollution, the club added.

“While we applaud Governor Wolf’s proposal to reduce pollution from other coal plants in our state, these proposed standards would allow the Brunner Island plant, our region’s single worst source of dangerous smog forming pollution, to continue to dump these dangerous emissions into our air without restriction,” said Tom Schuster, Senior Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Pennsylvania. “A family in Southeastern Pennsylvania has as much right to breathe clean air as a family in Pittsburgh. Today’s findings show that it’s time for Governor Wolf to stand up for clean air in our communities and to close this dangerous Brunner Island loophole for the health and well-being of families throughout the region.”

Notable is that the 1,411-MW Brunner Island plant, along with the big Montour coal plant in Pennsylvania, is due to be spun off within the next month in the newly-created Talen Energy.

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.