Wednesday, July 23, 2014

NJ Sierra Club blasts extension for coal-power plant

B.L. England coal-burning power plant in Beesleys Point, NJ

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has approved an administrative consent order allowing the coal-burning B.L. England Generating Station in Beesleys Point, Cape May County, to continue to operate for up to two years beyond its ay 2015 shutdown date.

“It very simply extends the air permits for the plant for another one to two years to give the operator time to consider options for re-powering the facility,” Larry Ragonese, spokesman for the DEP told the Atlantic City Press.

The Sierra Club reacted with a statement today calling the approval a "unilateral action (that) violates the EPA Mercury Air Toxic Standards (MATS) and nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide limits."  

The statement continued:

"This plant was supposed to close years ago and the DEP cannot just extend without EPA approval because it is the result of a settlement under a New Source Review challenge.  Sierra Club is also concerned as this will give the plant operators time to continue pushing for a new gas pipeline to connect to the facility, even though the Pinelands Commission rejected the proposal in January.   

"In addition to the air pollution produced by the plant, billions of fish and aquatic organisms that are killed by the once through cooling system used at the plant’s Unit 4 each year. Sierra Club and other groups are currently challenging the DEP New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NJPDES”) permit for the plant because DEP did not require the plant operators to install cooling towers as the plant is being repowered and rebuilt. 

“Great Egg Harbor Bay’s waters are significantly impacted by the discharge of super heated water by the BL England plant, resulting in significant dissolved oxygen problems.  The discharges from the plant have resulted in the Bay failing to meet state and federal water quality standards.  Cooling towers would reduce these impacts and bring the facility into compliance with the Clean Water Act.”

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