Luminant has other options besides closing coal-fired generation, EPA says

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says Luminant has other options to comply with the agency’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) without idling up to 1,300 MW of coal-fired generating capacity and laying off 500 workers.

Luminant said Sept. 12 that to comply with CSAPR it will idle units 1 and 2 at its Monticello coal-fired power plant and switch Unit 3 from Texas lignite coal to Powder River Basin coal. It also will switch units 1 and 2 at the Big Brown coal-fired power plant to Powder River Basin coal and end lignite mining at three Texas mines.

“While making the business decision to close these mines may be one of several cost-effective ways to comply with this rule, we do not believe  it is the only path forward, particularly given the nation’s difficult economic situation,” wrote EPA deputy administrator Bob Perciasepe in a Sept. 11 letter to Luminant CEO David Campbell.

The letter said EPA had tried to work with Luminant to identify ways the company can comply with the rules without affecting jobs or electricity reliability.

Perciasepe wrote that alternative compliance approaches are available that “rely on existing pollution control technology already installed at your facilities and on the powerful market-based mechanisms in the CSAPR that would not require you to idle any facility or shut down these mines.”  He said EPA had offered to make “technical adjustments” to give Texas and Luminant “thousands of additional tons of pollution allowances.”

Luminant filed a lawsuit against EPA on Sept. 12 claiming that Texas and the utility should be exempt from the new rule.

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