EPA takes extra time to look at Delaware complaint over Brunner Island emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided that 60 days is insufficient time to complete the technical and other analyses and public notice-and-comment process required for its review of a petition by the state of Delaware under section 126 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) related to Talen Energy‘s (NYSE: TLN) Brunner Island coal plant in Pennsylvania.

The petition requests that the EPA make a finding that the Brunner Island plant located in York County, Pennsylvania, emit air pollution that significantly contributes to nonattainment and interferes with maintenance of the 2008 and 2015 ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) in Delaware.

The Clean Air Act (CAA) authorizes EPA to grant a time extension for responding to a petition if the EPA determines that the extension is necessary to afford the public, With a planned notice in the Aug. 23 Federal Register, the EPA is making that determination. The EPA is therefore extending the deadline for acting on the petition to no later than March 5, 2017.

The petition asserts that emissions from the Brunner Island’s three major boiler units significantly contribute to Delaware’s nonattainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, set at 0.075 parts per million (ppm), and the revised 2015 8-hour ozone NAAQS, set at 0.070 ppm. Pursuant to CAA section 126(b), the EPA must make the finding requested in the petition, or must deny the petition within 60 days of its receipt. Under CAA section 126(c), any existing sources for which the EPA makes the requested finding must cease operations within three months of the finding, except that the source may continue to operate if it complies with emission limitations and compliance schedules (containing increments of progress) that the EPA may provide to bring about compliance with the applicable requirements as expeditiously as practical but no later than 3 years from the date of the finding.

Talen Energy has lately said that a key strategic objective that continues on schedule is the natural gas co-firing project at the 1,500-MW Brunner Island plant. The company said it expects gas co-firing capability for the 750-MW Unit 3 to be completed in the third quarter of 2016. Co-firing of Units 1 and 2, which have a combined generating capacity of 750 MW, is on schedule for completion by the end of 2016. The company said it has commenced construction on a four-mile gas pipeline to the 1960s-era plant to support the co-firing project.

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.