EPA agrees to issue decision on air permit for Georgia biomass power plant

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will say in a June 10 notice in the Federal Register that it has worked out a proposed consent decree to address a lawsuit filed by Partnership for Policy Integrity in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia over the state issuing an air permit to a biomass-fired power plant.

In the Jan. 25, 2016, legal complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Gina McCarthy, in her official capacity as Administrator of EPA, failed to perform a non-discretionary duty to grant or deny within 60 days a petition submitted by plaintiffs on May 26, 2015, requesting that EPA object to a Clean Air Act Title V permit issued by the Environmental Protection Division of Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources.

The permit was issued to Piedmont Green Power LLC and it authorized the operation of a 60.5-MW steam-turbine generator powered by a 700 million British thermal unit per hour (MMBtu) biomass boiler in Barnesville, Georgia.

The proposed consent decree would establish a deadline for EPA to take such action. Written comments on the proposed consent decree must be received within 30 days after publication of this notice 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 plaintiffs by Dec. 16, 2016.

The contested permit describes the plant as: “The facility operates a 60.5 Megawatt (MW) power generation facility in Barnesville, Georgia. The primary emission source at the facility is a 700 MMBtu/hr circulated fluidized bed boiler fueled with clean cellulosic biomass. Small quantities of biodiesel may be used during startup, shutdown, and bed stabilization only. Steam from this boiler will be routed to a turbine generator that will provide electricity for distribution to the power grid.”

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.