Legal & Regulatory

NSR Settlement Requires New Pollution Controls for Four Corners Coal Plant

Several Arizona and New Mexico–based utilities will be required to install pollution controls at the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant to curb sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) under a settlement reached with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department.

The settlement involves the Arizona Public Service Co. (APS), the operator and primary owner of the 2-GW plant near Farmington, N.M., as well as El Paso Electric Co., Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, and Tucson Electric Power Co.—which are current co-owners of the plant. It also involves Southern California Edison Co., a former co-owner of the plant.

According to the EPA, the settlement resolves claims that the companies violated the New Source Review (NSR) provisions of the Clean Air Act by unlawfully modifying the Four Corners Power Plant without obtaining required permits or installing and operating the best available air pollution control technology.

It will require an estimated $160 million in pollution control upgrades, namely installing a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) unit at Units 4 and 5 by March 2018.

The settlement also requires $6.7 million to be spent on three health and environmental mitigation projects for tribal members, and payment of a $1.5 million civil penalty.

Citizen groups including Diń́é Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, To’ Nizhoni Ani, and National Parks Conservation Association are co-plaintiffs to the settlement and will simultaneously be resolving their own currently pending lawsuit against the companies, the agency said.

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)

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