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San Juan Generating Station required to cut pollution

The EPA's Region 6 office, based in Dallas, said the rule issued under the Clean Air Act would reduce the number of days that San Juan visibly impairs views by 80 percent. The proposed rule was prompted in part by concerns about haze at Mesa Verde National Park in Southwest Colorado, designated a "Class 1" area that receives special protection according to the Clean Air Act.

Editor's note: This article does not address wind energy per se, however, it highlights the emphasis EPA is placing on protecting viewsheds. Similar concernswould apply when sitinglarge-scale turbine facilities.

FARMINGTON -- A proposed rule announced last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would require San Juan Generating Station to install costly pollution-control equipment.

Environmentalists hailed the development, saying it would lead to cleaner air in the Four Corners, but the power plant's largest owner said the rule could cost $1 billion or more.

The rule would require, among other things, a dramatic 83-percent reduction in the coal-burning power plant's emissions of nitrogen oxides, substances linked to smog and haze.

Reaching that benchmark would require the installation of selective catalytic reduction equipment. PNM, a large electricity provider based in Albuquerque, said the equipment's cost would be passed on to residential and business customers.

"Above everything else, we are concerned about the impact this could have on customer bills," Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM president and CEO, said in a written statement. "We believe we already have the technology in place... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Editor's note: This article does not address wind energy per se, however, it highlights the emphasis EPA is placing on protecting viewsheds. Similar concerns would apply when siting large-scale turbine facilities.

FARMINGTON -- A proposed rule announced last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would require San Juan Generating Station to install costly pollution-control equipment.

Environmentalists hailed the development, saying it would lead to cleaner air in the Four Corners, but the power plant's largest owner said the rule could cost $1 billion or more.

The rule would require, among other things, a dramatic 83-percent reduction in the coal-burning power plant's emissions of nitrogen oxides, substances linked to smog and haze.

Reaching that benchmark would require the installation of selective catalytic reduction equipment. PNM, a large electricity provider based in Albuquerque, said the equipment's cost would be passed on to residential and business customers.

"Above everything else, we are concerned about the impact this could have on customer bills," Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM president and CEO, said in a written statement. "We believe we already have the technology in place to meet the haze reduction requirements of the federal Clean Air Act and do so at a far lower cost."

PNM complained that the rule is more stringent than one issued recently for Four Corners Power Plant, located nearby on Navajo land.

The EPA's Region 6 office, based in Dallas, said the rule issued under the Clean Air Act would reduce the number of days that San Juan visibly impairs views by 80 percent.

The proposed rule was prompted in part by concerns about haze at Mesa Verde National Park in Southwest Colorado, designated a "Class 1" area that receives special protection according to the Clean Air Act.

"The driver here is these Class 1 areas are losing their viewsheds," said Mike Eisenfeld, New Mexico energy coordinator for San Juan Citizens Alliance, an environmental group.

Nitrogen oxide emissions, Eisenfeld said, are having a "very, very adverse effect on the economies of the Southwest because we're losing our tourism, we're losing the air quality that makes us so iconic."

The rule also sets limits for emissions of sulfuric acid and ammonia.

The EPA rule cited a 2007 task force report saying visibility had degraded at Mesa Verde during the previous decade.

Mesa Verde, renowned for its ancient Native American sites, is only 27 miles from San Juan Generating Station. Durango, Mancos and Cortez rely on the park to generate tourism dollars.

David Nimkin, southwest regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association, said the proposal "follows through on the intentions of the law to protect our parks as both natural and economic resources by limiting that pollution."

The 1,800-megawatt power plant is the primary source of power for PNM, New Mexico's largest utility. Located 15 miles west of Farmington, San Juan employs 400.

The announcement kicks off a 60-day comment period. A public hearing regarding the proposed rule will be held in Farmington at a date to be announced.

San Juan Generating Station has three years from the rule's final effective date to comply.


Source: http://www.businessjournals...

DEC 27 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/29470-san-juan-generating-station-required-to-cut-pollution
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