Wyoming power plant unit plugged back into full operation

By Bob Moen, Associated Press

A PacifiCorp coal-fired power plant in southwest Wyoming will remain fully operational for at least another year because of a change in state environmental requirements established to meet federal pollution mandates issued under the Obama administration.

 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A PacifiCorp coal-fired power plant in southwest Wyoming will remain fully operational for at least another year because of a change in state environmental requirements established to meet federal pollution mandates issued under the Obama administration.

The Portland, Oregon-based utility company had announced last year that the Naughton plant near Kemmerer would close one of its three power-generating units at the end of 2017. The reason was because of declining electricity demands and the costs of meeting the pollution requirements.

The state of Wyoming required PacifiCorp by the end of 2017 to either install expensive equipment to reduce the unit's emissions, convert the unit to burning natural gas or shut it down, PacifiCorp spokesman David Eskelsen said Tuesday.

However, Eskelsen said the federal government was giving the utility company until the end of 2018 to make any changes to the unit. The state amended its requirements recently to mirror the federal 2018 date.

"This is specifically related to regional haze requirements," he said.

President Donald Trump has vowed to remove government regulations that could prevent the U.S. from achieving global dominance in oil, gas and coal.

That included withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate change agreement because of the limitations that it could have placed on the burning of fossil fuels.

Eskelsen said PacifiCorp's plans for the Naughton plant have not changed because the state and federal requirements remain in effect.

Those plans include reassessing a switch to natural gas for the unit, Eskelsen said.

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