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Colorado allows an Eastern Plains power plant to emit toxic sulfur dioxide emissions far above safe levels, groups claim – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado 2021-06-11 05:20:00 –

A coal-fired pony power plant near Fort Morgan in Xcel Energy is endangering the health of locals by violating EPA’s sulfur dioxide emissions standards for hundreds of hours a year, the Conservation Union said in the state to pollute plants. He said on Friday that he was calling for a significant reduction in permits.

The coalition uses EPA pollution monitoring data to cause pony to emit up to four times the hourly limit of SO2, causing asthma and other acute respiratory problems to people living near power plants. I supported the claim that it could cause it. The Union also conducted Pony’s own modeling to claim that the plant could violate time limits thousands of times each year if actual EPA emission data were used.

Conservation groups have created a monthly average of pony SO2 limits that the state’s air pollution control department, which issues emission permits for companies like Xcel, violates EPA standards and has never been approved by the EPA. Claims to have done. This allows pony to release short-term pollution that far exceeds safety limits while meeting monthly averages when energy demand is high or pollution filters are not functioning.

According to a letter from the state, if the state fails to properly model pollution or take into account actual historical emissions data, “the health of Colorado people is threatened and the wording of the Clean Air Act EPA rules such as “violate intent” are threatened. Union. This group includes the Colorado Sierra Club, Green Latino, Wild Earth Guardians, Biodiversity Centers, and civil servants for environmental responsibility.

The EPA’s system for monitoring actual emissions data reported by large polluters violates SO2’s state’allowable’emission rates in 149 hours in 2019 and 200 hours in 2020. The coalition said it showed that it was doing. However, the state allowed Pony to average emissions over a long period of time, causing spikes without “results and actions taken by CDPHE to correct the situation,” he told the state. The coalition letter states.

The coalition said the inaction of air pollution authorities in the supervision of permits in Pony is part of a pattern that includes: Allegations from state whistleblowers earlier this year Regulators claim that they support industrial needs rather than inhabitant health.

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Ramesh Bhatt, chair of the Colorado Sierra Club’s Conservation Commission, is the third major source of pollution paid for its own emission modeling, which the coalition believes to follow EPA regulations much more carefully than state modeling.Previously, the independent modeling of the simultaneous argued that: Reconstruction of Interstate 70 through North Denver It will result in more particle contamination than the state’s health and transportation sector has explained. More recently, the group has modeled pollution at the Suncor refinery, claiming to exceed both state projections and EPA limits.

“These things are coming to the fore. People understand that we are unnecessarily polluted,” Bhatt said. “We want the EPA to clearly address each of these issues, but we also see it as a kind of holism.”

Xcel has updated its SO2 reductions at Pawnee to “state-of-the-art” and said the company is compliant with the permit.

“I disagree with the conclusions of the Conservation Group’s report based on the analysis of emissions data and other information related to plant operation,” Xcel spokeswoman Michel Aguayo said in a statement. .. “I don’t think the Pawnees are causing or causing a national excess of air quality around the factory. Of course, Colorado and the EPA have air quality problems and other problems in the region. We will work closely with you in assessing. “

The state air pollution authorities said in a statement that they had not yet seen new modeling data from the Union, but said, “When evaluating the modeling submitted to these facilities, we have strict EPA guidelines for each facility. Following modeling protocols. As the EPA updates its guidelines, the protocols will be updated. Sulfur dioxide emissions from these facilities are steadily declining as a result of measures taken at the state and local levels. ”

Xcel announced earlier this year By 202, we plan to convert the pony to a cleaner natural gas fuel.9.

Meanwhile, the 505 MW pony plant emits heavier pollutants and greenhouse gases from coal containing SO2.

The EPA has “unreachable areas” of pollutants in many states, including nine county areas in the front range of ozone pollution. In this area, businesses and local governments that control the use of automobiles are subject to additional regulations aimed at reducing emissions. Morgan County, where the Pawnee factory is located, is not included in Colorado’s non-reachable areas.

Colorado’s SO2 has no EPA unachieved designated areas or additional rule layers that may accompany them. There are such areas in states where power plants and other large SO2 emitters are more concentrated. The Nature Maintenance Coalition wants the Pawnees and other power plants to be portrayed as non-reachable areas of SO2. If that is not possible, they will accurately reflect the amount of Pawnee contamination in the state’s annual SO2 report, and then change the Pawnee permit in Xcel to eliminate dangerous short-term spikes of toxic gas. Say you want that.

The group also argued that Colorado was not allowed to independently interpret the rules and toxicity limits of the Clean Air Act or to select the most important period, before finalizing future permits. In addition, the state air pollution regulator wants the EPA to clear modeling and calculations. .. They cite the case of Wisconsin, where the state considers power plants to underestimate SO2 emissions and has received explicit EPA approval for alternative models with stricter standards.

Xcel has alternatives to significantly reduce pony SO2 and other emissions, said Robert Ukeiley, Colorado lawyer at the Center for Biodiversity. It may switch to natural gas or cleaner coal sooner than the announced plan. Xcel can add backup scrubbers so that taking one set offline does not spew SO2 or other contaminants. State regulators in the permitting process have the authority to shape and modify plant operations and demand cleaner equipment.

Or, Ukeiley said: That would be the best choice. “

Until then, the state needs to take action, members of the coalition said. “Their job is to follow science and provide people with the protection they need. It’s always clean air, not just sometimes,” Ukeiley said.

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Colorado allows an Eastern Plains power plant to emit toxic sulfur dioxide emissions far above safe levels, groups claim Source link Colorado allows an Eastern Plains power plant to emit toxic sulfur dioxide emissions far above safe levels, groups claim

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