The decision was made for Unit 2 of the Jim Bridger Power Plant. This is not the news the country was hoping for.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday that it will propose not approving an alternative pollution control plan in Wyoming for the unit, which has not adhered to federal regulations since Dec. 31 and is operating under a four-month emergency suspension signed by the government. Mark Gordon. Commentary will end on April 30th.
“While not entirely expected, the EPA’s decision not to approve the government’s revised implementation plan is a disappointing reflection of a federal agency’s conduct in bad faith,” Gordon said in a statement Wednesday. He voiced similar criticism in a letter he sent to the agency in November, in which he threatened to sue if the Wyoming plan was not approved.
“The EPA’s rollback and subsequent refusal to adopt an agreement previously approved by the regional office and EPA headquarters could affect the workforce loyal to the Jim Bridger power plant and coal mine,” Gordon added.
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He stressed that the state will continue to search for ways to prevent the unit’s closure.
Jim Bridger Units 1 and 2 are currently scheduled to convert to peak natural gas facilities in 2024. According to the Rocky Mountain Power operating facility, it would be uneconomical to install costly pollution control measures for harmful nitrogen oxides, or NOx – a state-developed and approved plan It was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2014 – for the last years of operation of the units. The facility has installed pollution control devices in Units 3 and 4.
The deadline for compliance with Module 1 is December 31.
In 2019, Rocky Mountain Power proposed an alternate plan for Units 1 and 2: that would limit electricity production below maximum capacity to reduce NOx emissions to acceptable levels, without installing pollution controls. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency appeared satisfied with the change, but failed to finalize it before the Biden administration took over, reassessed the proposal and told Wyoming in June that it would neither agree nor reject Plan B.
The Environmental Protection Agency eventually concluded that Wyoming had failed to prove that it would be too costly to install pollution controls, according to Tuesday’s advance release.
“The state previously determined that the costs of these oversight requirements were reasonable and necessary to meet the legal requirements, and has not provided any new information that would support a revised determination that the requirements are now unreasonable,” the document reads.
Randall Luthi, Gordon’s senior energy adviser, told Star-Tribune in late December that if the EPA rejects the plan, the accompanying explanation could help the state amend its proposal before the unit’s additional four months run out.
“Then we at least have some information to talk to them about,” he said at the time. “So I hope that opens the door to a broader negotiation.”
The EPA’s proposed rejection is expected to be published in the Federal Register next week. A 30-day suspension period will begin once the decision is posted.