From: Roger Greenway, ENN
Published December 23, 2009 06:15 AM

Duke Energy Resolves Clean Air Act Violations

The US EPA and Duke Energy have reached a settlement in another New Source Review enforcement action.
Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power companies in the nation, will spend approximately $85 million to significantly reduce harmful air pollution at an Indiana power plant and pay a $1.75 million civil penalty, under a settlement to resolve violations of federal clean air laws, the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The settlement also requires Duke to spend $6.25 million on environmental mitigation projects.

The agreement, filed in federal court in Indianapolis, resolves violations of the Clean Air Act’s new source review requirements found at the company’s Gallagher coal-fired power plant in New Albany, Ind., located directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky.

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The settlement is anticipated to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions at the Gallagher Plant by almost 35,000 tons per year, an 86 percent reduction when compared to 2008 emissions. This is equivalent to the emissions from 500,000 heavy duty semi trucks, which is more than all of the trucks registered in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio combined. Sulfur dioxide harms the environment and human health.

Duke is required to spend $6.25 million on environmental mitigation projects, including $250,000 for the U.S. Forest Service to address acid rain in downwind national forests, $5 million for one or more additional projects such as conversion to hydro generation or hybrid vehicle fleets, and $1 million for environmental mitigation projects to be allocated among the states that joined the settlement.

The settlement requires Duke to either repower Units 1 and 3 at Gallagher with natural gas or shut them down to remove all sulfur dioxide pollution. This natural gas repowering will also reduce other air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, mercury, and carbon dioxide. The combined nitrogen oxide emissions from Units 1 and 3 are expected to decrease by about 2,198 tons per year as compared to 2008 emissions. By using natural gas rather than coal, Duke will eliminate emissions of particulate matter and mercury from the units. The switch from coal to natural gas will also decrease these units’ carbon dioxide emissions by roughly half per unit of electricity.

The settlement also requires that Duke install new pollution controls for sulfur dioxide at the other two units at the plant, Units 2 and 4.

This is the 17th settlement secured by EPA and DOJ as part of a national enforcement initiative to control emissions from coal-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review requirements.

For more information: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/2520F12F7372FE1D85257694005AB7A7

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