EPA issues operation permit for Bonanza plant production

RBC I Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Title V permit allowing Deseret Power Electric Cooperative’s (DPEC’s) Bonanza power plant to continue operating under existing emissions control requirements.
The final permit will go into effect Jan. 7, 2015.

The decision comes after environmental organization WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit in May to require the EPA to revise a draft Title V air quality permit for the Bonanza plant. The revisions would have mandated that DPEC install state-of-the-art pollution controls, or Best Available Control Technology (BACT), based partly on a separate Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit issued in 2001 that failed to apply PSD regulations correctly.
In the general introduction to a “Response to Comments on Deseret Bonanza Draft Title V Permit” issued along with the decision, the EPA said that thousands of comments issued during a comment period and public hearings in May and June, along with other available information, led them to make substantial changes to the draft Title V permit.
The “EPA has determined that at this time that it is not appropriate or equitable to include compliance provisions regarding the PSD correction permit in the final title V permit,” the document stated.
Instead, the EPA has begun a separate PSD correction action to address the ruggedized rotor project that initiated the permit process in 2000.
What that means for the future of Bonanza and for the ongoing fight between coal-fired power plants and the environmental groups that oppose them, is still unclear.
The EPA states that the final Title V permit could still be changed based on future findings.
“Should EPA determine additional PSD permit terms are necessary for the facility to come into compliance with PSD during the PSD permitting process, the Title V permit would be reopened to include those permit terms,” the document stated.
DPEC President and CEO Kimball Rasmussen declined to comment on the current Title V decision.
Supporters of continued power plant operations without mandated upgraded controls, however, were optimistic about the decision.
“It looks positive for the Bonanza Power Plant and the issuance of the Title V permit,” Rangely Town Manager Peter Brixius said in an email last week to citizens and groups who lobbied for the current outcome.
To view the EPA response online, go to www2.epa.gov/region8/title-v-operating-permits-issued-region-8 and select “Response to Comments and Permit” in the “Deseret Power Electric Cooperative” column.