EPA Rules on Regional Haze | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 3/2/2012
The EPA received thousands of comments in favor of the state`s plan and heard dozens of people testify before EPA administrators when they were here last October. Ultimately, the EPA agreed, for the most part, with a federal district court judge who ruled back in December that the state`s plan was effective.
State leaders and the coal industry say they`re pleased with the EPA`s decision to let the state manage nitrogen oxide emissions, especially since they say the EPA`s plan wouldn`t have changed air visibility.
"We`re very happy with that decision. We think that it speaks well for the job that was done by the state," said Steve Van Dyke with the Lignite Energy Council.
Of course, both the state and federal plans cost money, but the state says its plan is 10 times cheaper than the EPA`s. While the EPA`s plan would have required a greater reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions, the coal industry says it will work to continue cutting down on pollutants.
The EPA`s decision means that Basin Electric`s Leeland Olds Station and Minnkota Power`s Milton R. Young Station won`t have to install a technology that the state says wouldn`t work here anyway because of our high-sodium lignite.
"The state`s plan is obviously approved by EPA now, it`s a final action and I think we`re looking good for over 90 percent of it and there`s just this one remaining facility that we`re continuing to discuss with the state," said EPA Region Eight Air Program Director Carl Daly.
The EPA will soon be imposing its own plan on Basin`s Antelope Valley Station and Great River Energy`s Coal Creek Station for how they deal with air quality.
"I think some relatively easy minor tweaks at both of these places will then put them in a position where we can tell EPA look here`s what they`ve done, back off your federal plan, let us implement our state plan and I think that`s what likely will happen," said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
The coal industry says utility rates would have gone up by about 25 percent had the EPA ruled to accept its plan.