NGS schedules public forum to explain EPA emissions proposal

Proposal could require up to $1.1 billion in additional environmental controls at Page power station

Salt River Project (SRP) is sponsoring a community forum Thursday about the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recently proposed Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) rule for the Navajo Generating Station (NGS).

The public meeting will be from 6-8 p.m. at the Page PERA Club, 445 Haul Road.

NGS Plant Manager Robert Talbot and other SRP officials will provide an overview of the EPA proposal and talk about what to expect in the upcoming EPA public comment process.

The Jan. 18 proposed rule for BART calls for NGS to install Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology on its three units to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide, or NOx, at a cost of about $590 million. If "baghouses" are required to filter potential increases in particulate matter that could occur as a result of installing SCR, the total cost of the additional emission controls could top $1.1 billion.

The proposal by EPA would allow NGS to complete SCR installation in years 2021, 2022 and 2023 instead of 2018 because the EPA took into account the early and voluntary emission reductions from installing low-NOx burners and separated overfire air in years 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Before NGS's six owners can consider such a significant investment in additional controls, a number of issues must first be resolved. These include:

• approval of the NGS plant site lease extension and other agreements by the Navajo Nation Council to allow NGS to operate beyond the year 2019;

• the request to extend NGS operations beyond 2019 has triggered a review under several federal environmental regulations. These federal reviews will require at least five years to complete, and likely will be followed by lengthy legal challenges;

• these reviews will cover 20 federal actions and require the complex coordination of 10 federal agencies and 15 tribes. Once the review is completed, the federal agencies will issue a Record of Decision (ROD) and the Secretary of Interior must decide whether to approve or disapprove the lease extension.

Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, a 90-day public comment period will begin. EPA will also hold several public hearings on the proposed rule. Comments can be submitted in writing by e-mail, on paper or orally at a public hearing.

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