Sierra Club applauds Utah DEQ for finally issuing permit for Hunter coal plant

The Sierra Club said Sept. 16 that the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) issued a draft permit for Rocky Mountain Power’s Hunter coal-fired power plant the prior day, following recent legal action by the Sierra Club in response to the state’s failure to protect clean air and public health by allowing Hunter to operate without renewing its air quality permit for over a decade.

By issuing a draft permit for the Hunter coal plant, the public will now have a 30-day window to provide comment before finalizing the proposal. The comment period ends on Oct. 15. PacifiCorp does business in Utah as Rocky Mountain Power.

In response to the issuance of this draft permit, Bill Arthur, Associate Campaign Director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Utah, said: “For far too long, Rocky Mountain Power’s Hunter coal-fired power plant has endangered the health of families throughout Utah by dumping dangerous pollution into Utah’s skies and the air we all breathe. Utah officials have a responsibility to families and communities across the state to ensure that dirty, outdated coal-fired plants meet critical clean air protections that safeguard our health, our air, and the things we love most about our state like our treasured national parks. While we are still reviewing the content of the permit, the draft permit for Rocky Mountain Power’s Hunter coal plant is an important acknowledgement that Utahns deserve better than a piecemeal approach to assure that the state is doing all it can to protect Utah’s families and communities from dirty coal pollution.”

The club noted that Tite V permits like this are normally renewed every five years. It said the Hunter plant has been operating without a renewed operating permit since 2003.

According to a report recently released by the National Parks Conservation Association, three of Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks received “D” grades for various air quality categories, which is in part due to pollution from Hunter, the club said.

Utah submitted a regional haze proposal earlier this summer that would give a pass to Rocky Mountain Power by allowing the coal-fired Hunter and Huntington power plants to continue to with haze-causing emissions, the club said. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now faces a November deadline of whether to approve Utah’s regional haze proposal or reject it and propose its own plan.

Hunter is a steam electric generating facility consisting of three units. Unit 1 and 2 are 480 MW facilities constructed prior to September 18, 1978; and Unit 3 is a 495 MW unit constructed in 1983. All ratings are nominal gross capacity. Bituminous and sub-bituminous coal is the primary fuel source for the boilers. Units 1 and 2 are tangentially-fired, dry bottom units, and Unit 3 is a wall-fired, dry bottom unit.

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.