Troubled Coal-Fired Power Plant Cleaning Up

Friday, 13 Jan 2012 05:27 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The Homer City coal-fired power plant, one of the largest and dirtiest in the nation, is adding up to $700 million in pollution controls so it can meet future federal and state air pollution control regulations. The plant, located 50 miles east of Pittsburgh, will seek state permits and raise capital to install emissions controls on two of its three units, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Edison Mission Energy, a subsidiary of California-based Edison International, said a third unit at the plant already has the emissions controls.
Company spokesman Charley Parnell said the company has already applied for state permits and is raising money for the project, and if it succeeds at both, construction could begin as soon as April and finish in 2014.
The plans were revealed at a community meeting for local residents.
“We wanted to let them know what was going on and what to expect. We’re doing this to improve the air emissions from Homer City and to ensure the long-term success and continued operation of the facility,” Parnell said.
The company bought the plant in 1999 for $1.8 billion. The power plant, which was built in 1969, generates enough energy for 2 million homes and employs 265.
The controls are expected to reduce mercury, sulfur dioxide and soot emissions, which earned the power plant a high ranking on many top 10 pollution lists, including being named as the seventh-dirtiest plant in the nation last year.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sued the utility and its eight limited-liability corporate owners and former owners last January. The government claimed the plant operated for decades without required federal permits or pollution controls, emitting approximately 100,000 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions a year, making it “one of the largest air pollution sources in the nation."
U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry dismissed the lawsuit in October, ruling the statute of limitations had expired on many of the pollution violations because of a "nearly two-decade delay in enforcement.”

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