EPA calls on three Oklahoma power plants to switch to natural gas

Source: US Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a clean air plan which will improve visibility and protect human health by reducing pollution at three Oklahoma power plants. 

Operators of these oldest coal-fired power plants will be required to install technology or switch to cleaner burning natural gas to control sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution. These plants were originally built more than 30 years ago, and federal law requires them to take practical steps to modernize their pollution controls.

The new limits are expected to reduce emissions of SO2 from the plants by about 95 percent, resulting in a reduction of approximately 61,000 tons of SO2 per year. These three power plants emit greater than one-third (36%) of all the SO2 pollution from the hundreds of industrial and utility sources in Oklahoma. Sulfur dioxide is toxic and can react with other chemicals to form small particles, which are harmful to public health.

“The steps we are taking to address the sulfur pollution from the oldest coal power plants will improve air quality for generations to come,” said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. "Everyone must continue to take efforts to reduce pollution, use cleaner sources of energy, and preserve our national wildlife areas."

EPA’s proposed Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) would reduce emissions at the Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) plant near Muskogee, the OG&E Sooner plant in north central Oklahoma and the American Electric Power/Public Service Company of Oklahoma plant northeast of Tulsa. These reductions are necessary to meet regional haze requirements under the Clean Air Act. The plants will have three years to add SO2 scrubbers, switch to natural gas, or use a combination of these approaches.

The Clean Air Act of 1990 requires states to control emissions that cause air haze. EPA has an obligation to create a federal clean air plan when a state implementation plan (SIP) does not adequately address Clean Air Act requirements.

EPA’s evaluation of the Oklahoma SIP found that all Oklahoma sources of air pollution except these three coal-fired power plants will meet the level of control needed to address these Clean Air Act requirements.

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