Comments to IDEM regarding Duke’s air permit for the Edwardsport Coal Gasification Plant

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Submitted By: SIERRA CLUB, VALLEY WATCH and CITIZEN ACTION COALITION

December 26, 2007

Re: Public Comments on Draft Prevention of Significant Deterioration Construction Permit for Duke Energy Indiana-Edwardsport Generating Station, Significant Modification No. 083-23529-00003, Significant Permit Modification No. 083-23531-00003

These comments are submitted on behalf of Valley Watch, Citizen Action Coalition, and Sierra Club and their combined almost 1 million members. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) proposes to issue a permit to Duke Energy (aka Duke Energy Indiana) allowing the company to modify its permits for the Edwardsport Generating Station and to construct new emission sources. This would allow construction of a very large power plant and a huge new source of air pollution.

The new pollution sources will subject Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky residents to air pollution, as well as increase global warming pollution at a time the state of Indiana, the United States, and the rest of the world is working to curb global warming pollution. According to state and federal clean air laws, the proposed power plant is a fossil fuel-fired steam electric plant of more than two hundred fifty million (250,000,000) British thermal units per hour heat input, which is listed pursuant to 326 IAC 2-2-1(gg)(1). Knox County is designated as attainment (or unclassified) for the criteria pollutants. Therefore, the facility is subject to Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting for all pollutants for which the proposed project would result in a significant net emissions increase. 326 IAC 2-2-1, et seq. Among the applicable PSD requirements, the proposed plant must comply with best available control technology (BACT) limits, 326 IAC 2-2-3, demonstrate no exceedances of an ambient air standard or maximum increase over baseline (“increment”), 326 IAC 2-2-5, analyze impacts to visibility, soils, as a result of either the project or as a result of general growth associated with the project. 326 IAC 2-2-8.

Congress intended to ensure that major sources of air pollution not degrade air quality for those forced to live and work in the areas where they are located. Congress recognized that generic national ambient air quality standards (“NAAQS”) do not adequately protect people. NAAQS “do not adequately protect against genetic mutations, birth defects, cancer, or diseases caused by long-term chronic exposures or periodic short-term peak concentrations, and hazards due to derivative pollutants and to cumulative or synergistic impacts of various pollutants; and they do not adequately protect against crop damage and acid rain.” Hawaiian Elec. Co. v. U.S. Envt’l Protection Agency, 723 F.2d 1440, 1447 (9th Cir. 1984). NAAQS also do not prevent the deterioration of otherwise cleaner air regions from deteriorating to the NAAQS “floor.”

For these reasons, Congress enacted the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (“PSD”) provisions of the Clean Air Act. 42 U.S.C. §§ 7470, et seq.

This air permit should not be approved for the following reasons:

  • IDEM failed to conduct a BACT (Best Available Control Technology) analysis for PM2.5 BACT limit in the permit
  • The draft permit lacks BACT limits for carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide
  • IDEM improperly credited emissions decreases in the "Netting Analysis" for the plant
  • The draft permit does not include sufficient BACT limits
  • The proposed plant will emit greenhouse gases at rates that do not protect hte health of persons or the environment because they present a substantial endangerment to peoples' health and the environment
  • The BACT limits for carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds are not even as low as other proposed IGCC plants
  • Natural gas is a cleaner fuel than coal-syngas and must be used to establish BACT limits
  • The BACT limits should be expressed by energy output
  • The BACT analysis and BACT limit for particulate matter emissions from the cooling towers are incomplete
  • The Prevention of Significant Deterioration increment inventory was deficient
  • The draft permit does not include adequate BACT limits for the auxiliary boiler and emergency generator
  • Modeling must be redone based on the worst case
  • The permit must ensure that the assumptions made for modeling are enforceable
  • Ozone impacts must be determined
  • Duke Energy did not conduct the required preconstruction monitoring

To read the full document in PDF format, visit http://citact.org/sites/default/files/Edwardsport_Air_Permit_Comments_to_IDEM_0.pdf