The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection updated and strengthened air quality permits for coal-fired power plants across the state in response to a lawsuit from environmental groups.
Earthjustice, on behalf of the Sierra Club, the Clean Air Council and PennEnvironment, sued the DEP to update the operating permits for nine coal-fired plants that had been in limbo for seven years. DEP proposed and issued new permits for seven plants while two others, Elrama and Armstrong, have been shut down. The department is also proposing a protection against air pollution to permits for three coal-fired power plants: Hatfield’s Ferry, Mitchell and Homer City. After appeals by Earthjustice on behalf of the Sierra Club, the Homer City plant is subject to an hourly limit for sulfur dioxide emissions of 6,360 pounds per hour.
Any major source of air pollution, including power plants, must obtain Title V permits under the Clean Air Act. The permits are generally valid for five years, at which point, they must be renewed to include any new regulations. The sources must apply between six and 18 months in advance of the permit’s expiration. By law, DEP must act on those requests within 18 months of receiving the completed application.
To read the settlement agreement, click here.
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