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Wyomings Proposed Coal Fired Power Plants


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Title: Wyomings Proposed Coal Fired Power Plants

Wyomings Proposed Coal Fired Power Plants
  • Environmental and Health Problems and Realistic

New Power Plant Proposals in Wyoming
  • Two Elk 2 in the Powder River Basin has received
    its Air Quality Permit from the Air Quality
    Division of the Wyoming Department of
    Environmental Quality.
  • WyGen 2 to be located just east of Gillette
    received their permit as well.
  • Jim Bridger Power Plant in Sweetwater County is
    considering a major expansion.

Health Effects
  • Soot or Particulate Matter
  • Mercury
  • Ozone
  • Carbon Dioxide

Soot or Particulate Matter
  • The burning of coal emits sulfur dioxide (SO2)
    and nitrogen oxide (NOx) gases, which can form
    fine particles, or soot, when they react with the
    atmosphere. Several well-publicized
    epidemiological studies conducted over the past
    10 years suggest that sulfate particles were
    positively correlated with adverse health effects
    such as respiratory disease, cardiovascular
    disease, and lung cancer.

  • Mercury levels in ambient air are generally far
    too low to constitute a health or environmental
    hazard. However, because mercury can convert to
    toxic methylmercury after it is deposited in
    terrestrial and aquatic environments, it can
    accumulate in aquatic food chains and expose
    humans to potentially harmful doses of mercury
    via food (primarily fish) consumption. Health
    effects include birth defects, and nervous system
    and learning disorders. In adults it may affect
    blood pressure and heart rate.

  • Ozone is formed when nitrogen oxide reacts with
    other pollutants in the presence of sunlight.
    Health effects include rapid breathing, airway
    irritation, and coughing. Ozone makes asthma
    worse and may be related to cardiac birth
    defects, low birthweights and stunted lung growth.

Carbon Dioxide
  • Carbon dioxide is formed when coal is burned.
    Indirect health effects may be associated with
    climate change, including the spread of
    infectious diseases from more temperate climates,
    higher atmospheric ozone levels and increased
    heat- and cold-related illnesses.

National Health Impacts of Power Plants
  • Health Effect Incidence (cases per year)
  • Mortality 23,600
  • Hospital Admissions 21,850
  • Emergency Room Visits for Asthma 26,000
  • Heart Attacks 38,200
  • Chronic Bronchitis 16,200
  • Asthma Attacks 554,000
  • Lost Work Days 3,186,000

Environmental Effects of Power Plant Emissions
  • Ozone
  • Toxins
  • Acid Rain
  • Global Warming
  • Nitrogen Deposition
  • Visibility

  • When nitrogen oxide (NOx) reacts with volatile
    organic compounds (VOCs) and sunlight, ground
    level ozone, or smog, forms. Ozone can damage
    plants and native vegetation. Pondersosa pine is
    particularly susceptible to this effect, making
    the trees more vulnerable to beetle kills and
    other natural threats.

  • Power plants are one of the largest sources of
    toxic metal compound pollution. Together they
    released more than one billion pounds of toxic
    pollution in 1998, including 9 million pounds of
    toxic metals and metal compounds and 750 million
    pounds of dangerous acid gases. One of the most
    dangerous toxins emitted is mercury.

Acid Rain
  • Acid rain is formed when sulfur dioxide (SO2) and
    nitrogen oxide (NOx) react with water and oxygen
    in the atmosphere to form acidic compounds, most
    commonly sulfuric and nitric acid. This can be
    especially devastating to aquatic life in
    high-altitude lakes.

Global Warming
  • Burning fossil fuels such as coal releases carbon
    dioxide (CO2) pollution. The US has four percent
    of the world's population yet emits 25 of the
    global warming pollution. Power plants emit 40
    of US carbon dioxide pollution, the primary
    global warming pollutant.

Nitrogen Deposition
  • Coal-fired power plants contribute to excessive
    nitrogen being deposited in soils and water
    bodies. This causes overfertilization that leads
    to algae blooms, which deprive aquatic life of
    oxygen and destroy habitat.

  • Coal-burning power plants cause most of the
    sulfate particles which cause haze and reduce
    visibility. Nationally, coal-plant related
    visibility reductions in our parks and wilderness
    areas causes an estimated 4.3 billion annual

  • National Parks and Wilderness Areas rely on good
    visibility for the enjoyment of visitors and to
    maintain a pristine environment.
  • Northern Cheyenne Tribe opted for a Class One
    airshed designation for its reservation when
    presented the opportunity to protect its members
    from nearby power plant pollution.

Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
  • Located approximately 100 miles from the proposed
    facility, Wind Cave is a Class One airshed.
  • (Insert photo here)

Badlands National Park Sage Creek Wilderness
Area, South Dakota
  • Approximately 100 miles from the proposed sites
    another Class One airshed

Cloud Peak Wilderness Area, Wyoming
  • Roughly 90 miles west is Cloud Peak Wilderness in
    the Bighorn Mountains west of Sheridan

Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Montana
Other Significant Areas Near the New Power Plants
Where Visibility Could be Impaired
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Devils Tower (Americas first National Monument)
  • Keyhole State ParkNE Wyomings premier
    recreation area
  • Sand Creek (Wyomings first adjudicated instream
  • Ranch A Education Center on the National Historic
  • Black Hills National Forest
  • Black Elk Wilderness Area
  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
  • Jewel Cave National MonumentWorlds
    third-longest cave
  • Bear Butte State ParkSacred site to the Lakota
  • Custer State ParkSouth Dakotas largest State

About the Proposed Plants
Two Elk 2
  • The proposed plant would be located adjacent to
    the Black Thunder Coal Mine, 8 miles east of
    Wright, in the Thunder Basin National Grassland
  • Initial Proposal was in 1996
  • Would burn 1.8 million tons of locally produced
    coal per year
  • All Coal would come from the Black Thunder Mine.

The Problem with Permits Two Elk 2
  • Initial Application November 1997
  • Public Notice Provided December 1997
  • Issuance of Permit February 27th, 1998

Two Elk 2 Deadline Set
  • In 1999, NAPG applied to amend its permit to
    modify the facility and move it to a new
  • The Air Quality Division of the DEQ again posted
    a public notice for the permit modification on
    January 12, 2000, with a final permit approved on
    February 17, 2000.
  • Condition 4 of that permit indicated that if
    construction did not commence within 24 months of
    the date of permit issuance, the permit would
    become invalid.

Two Elk 2 Deadline missed
  • In January 2002, Two Elk Generation Partners
    claimed to have commenced construction. TEGP
    cited combined project costs topping 25 million
    since inception of Two Elk, though these costs
    apparently were for facility design rather than
    on-site construction. Wyoming DEQ concluded
    construction had not begun, but gave a one-time,
    six-month extension until August 2002.
  • TEGP notified Wyoming DEQ that it had commenced
    construction, by driving piles marking boiler
    foundation placement. As proof, TEGP submitted
    photographs of the driving of three steel beams
    into bare ground.

Two Elk 2 No Public Comment
  • In September 2002, DEQ told TEGP it had seen no
    evidence of contracts for the power generated by
    Two Elk, and determined that the construction
    permit had expired when TEGP failed either to do
    so or to prove that a loss of the permit would
    cause significant monetary harm.
  • After TEGP sued the state, the permit was
    reissued in June 2003 without public notice or
    comment, an apparent violation of the Clean Air
    Act under which the DEQ administers federal
    air-quality regulatory programs. To date, no
    challenge has been filed regarding this apparent

Two Elk 2 New Delays Deadline
  • The air quality construction permit as reissued
    requires that construction begin and contracts be
    in place by June 2005.
  • Project delays could lead to either abandonment
    orre-application. Such delays could result from
    a lack of funding from the North American Power
    Group, or the permitting process stalling while
    NAPG struggles to prove that they have met all
    the requirements and obligations in the permit

Major Impacts Two Elk 2
  • Two Elk 2 would impact the air quality most
    directly on the Thunder Basin National Grassland,
    a Class Two airshed.
  • Within Thunder Basin NG are several independent
    family agricultural operations, as well as prime
    antelope and deer hunting lands. Sage grouse also
    use this area extensively.
  • Other activities within the TBNG are coal mining,
    and oil and gas drilling and exploration. The
    TBNG is currently enjoying the full attention of
    the Bush Administrations energy policy.

WyGen 2 - History
  • Proponent Black Hills Corp.
  • Construction Contractor Unknown
  • Type Conventional pulverized coal plant
  • MegaWatts 500
  • Air Quality Permit Status Issued September 2002
    NPS challenging aspects construction deadline
    Sept. 25, 2005 extended from Sept. 14, 2004

WyGen 2 cont.
  • Owned by Black Hills Corp. and located near
    WyoDak Mine in Campbell County on Interstate 90
    between Gillette and Moorcroft, the proposed
    WyGen2 plant would produce supplemental energy
    for the Western power grid.
  • The location selected for the facility sits
    within primarily rolling hills, with a mean
    elevation off 4,400 feet. This new facility could
    impact four Class One (or administrative
    equivalent) airshed areas.

WyGen 2 Site Concerns
  • WyGen 2 would be located on site which already
    contains 6 power plants which have a total
    generating capacity of 672 megawatts.
  • No studies of Keyhole Reservoir have ever been
    conducted to determine if mercury accumulation is
    occurring in its sports fish population.
  • Studies are needed to determine current air
    quality degradation from the existing 6 power
    plants on Class One airsheds and non-attainment

Potential Technical Solutions
  • First Energy conservation and efficiency
  • Second - Focus on Renewable Energy Resources
  • Third Use Integrated Gasification Combined
    Cycle Technology

Energy Conservation and Efficiency
  • The U.S. Department of Energy study, Scenarios
    for a Clean Energy Future, shows that energy
    efficiency measures could avoid the need for
    building approximately 610 new power plants
    between now and 2020. Measures studied include
  • Limits on all major types of power plant
  • Stronger efficiency standards for appliances and
  • Establishment of a fund to increase energy
    efficiency investments by utilities and other
    energy service companies, supported by a charge
    on electricity transmission

Focus on Renewable Energy Resources
  • The same study, Scenarios for a Clean Energy
    Future, shows that adding new renewable power
    capacity (wind, geothermal, biomass and others)
    could eliminate the need for about 180 new power
    plants. Measures studied include
  • Tax incentives to expand the market for
    high-efficiency technologies and renewable
  • Increased funding for energy efficiency and
    renewable energy research and development

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) -
What is it?
  • Chemical conversion of coal to synthetic gas for
    combustion in a modified gas turbine
  • Inherently cleaner process because
  • Coal is not combusted.
  • Pollutants are removed with greater efficiency
    because clean-up occurs while syngas volume is
    relatively small and under pressure.

IGCC Governors seek incentives
  • In April 2004, the Western Governors Association
    held the North American Energy Summit to
    recommend a secure energy future.
  • One theme of the conference was how to keep coal
    a viable energy source as global warming concerns
  • Participants recommended that governors create
    incentives for zero-emissions technologies such
    as IGCC

How You Can Help
How You Can Help
  • Spread the Word
  • Support Administrative Appeals
  • Safeguard the Permitting Process
  • Request Technical Solutions
  • Demand Stronger Monitoring of Impacts

Spread the WordWhat Can You Do?
  • Write a Letter to the Editor about coal-plant
    impacts or flaws in the state permitting
  • Casper Star-Tribune, P.O. Box 80, Casper, WY
  • Casper Journal, 351 N. Lennox, Casper, WY 82601
  • Sheridan Press, P.O. Box 2006, Sheridan, WY 82801
  • The News-Record, P.O. Box 3006, Gillette, WY
  • Buffalo Bulletin, P.O. Box 730, Buffalo, WY 82834

AppealsWhat Can You Do?
  • Among affected airsheds, only those in South
    Dakota have been protected via administrative
    appeal. The National Park Service objected to the
    permit for WyGen 2 due to concerns about
    air-quality degradation in Class One areas in
    South Dakota. To date, the appeal is still
    pending before the Wyoming Environmental Quality
    Council (EQC), which has the discretion to
    determine whether to hear the appeal formally.
    Meanwhile, the permit stays in force.
  • Write the EQC and urge them to give this appeal
    a fair hearing as soon as possible.

How to Contact the EQC
  • On the Web
  • http//deq.state.wy.us/eqc/index.asp
  • U.S. Mail
  • Environmental Quality Council
  • Herschler Building, Room 1714
  • Cheyenne, WY 82002

EQC Members
  • Jon Brady, Secretary (D-Alcova) 3/1/07
  • Wendy Hutchinson (R-Gillette) 3/1/07
  • Richard C. Moore (D-Laramie) 3/1/08
  • Sara M. Flitner (R-Jackson) 3/1/08
  • Mark Gordon, Vice-Chair (R-Buffalo) 3/1/07
  • Olin D. Sims, Chair (R-McFadden) 3/1/05
  • John N. Morris (D-Cheyenne) 3/1/05

Safeguard the Permitting ProcessWhat Can You Do?
  • The Wyoming DEQ has repeatedly extended deadlines
    for Two Elk power plant construction to begin.
    This undermines the credibility of the air
    quality permit process.
  • Write the DEQ Director to ask that permit
    requirements for Two Elk be carefully enforced.

How to Contact the DEQ Director
  • Send a letter or e-mail toJohn Corra,
    DirectorWY Department of Environmental
    Quality122 W. 25th St., Herschler
    BuildingCheyenne, WY 82002deqwyo_at_state.wy.us
  • Or, call the Directors Office(307) 777-7937

Request Technical SolutionsWhat Can You Do?
  • Call for conservation and efficiency
  • Demand Renewable Energy Focus
  • Encourage IGCC alternatives

Energy Conservation and EfficiencyWhat Can You
  • Contact Wyomings Congressional Delegation to ask
    their support for energy conservation initiatives
    at the federal level.
  • The Hon. Barbara Cubin, 1114 LHOB, Washington, DC
  • The Hon. Mike Enzi, 379-A RSOB, Washington, DC
  • The Hon. Craig Thomas, 307 DSOB, Washington, DC

Renewable Energy ResourcesWhat Can You Do?
  • Contact Wyomings Congressional Delegation to ask
    their support for renewable energy development at
    the federal level.
  • The Hon. Barbara Cubin, 1114 LHOB, Washington, DC
  • The Hon. Mike Enzi, 379-A RSOB, Washington, DC
  • The Hon. Craig Thomas, 307 DSOB, Washington, DC

IGCC What Can You Do?
  • Write Gov. Freudenthal and ask him to urge state
    agencies and private industry to reconsider
    proposals for coal-fired power plants as IGCC
    facilities instead, and to bring forward
    incentives to make this happen if necessary.
  • Governor Dave Freudenthal
  • State Capitol, 200 West 24th StreetCheyenne, WY
  • 307-777-7434 (phone)307-632-3909 (fax)
    307-777-7860 (TTY)
  • governor_at_state.wy.us

Demand Stronger Monitoring of ImpactsWhat Can
You Do?
  • Wyoming Game Fish officials conduct a limited
    amount of fish sampling to test for mercury
    accumulation in fish that our anglers catch and
  • Fish in Keyhole Reservoir near Gillette, downwind
    and downstream of many power plants, have not
    been sampled in recent years.

Demand Stronger Monitoring of ImpactsWhat Can
You Do?
  • Write to the Game Fish Director and ask that
    Keyhole Reservoir be added to the next round of
    sampling for mercury and other contaminants.
  • Terry Cleveland, DirectorWY Game Fish
    Department5400 Bishop Blvd.Cheyenne, WY 82006

Its Not Too Late!
  • In Wyoming, because of our low population, a
    small number of public comments can be very
    influential in motivating public officials to
    uphold the law and protect our natural resources
    and environment.
  • Citizen interest in holding any new power plants
    to the highest standard of necessity, clean
    operations and diligent monitoring will make a

  • For Copies of this power point on a CD Rom or
    other digital format, contact
  • Ben Lamb
  • WY Conservation Voters Education Fund
  • P.O. Box 2664
  • Casper WY, 82602
  • (307) 265-0870
  • ben_at_wyovoters.org
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