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As part of the 15th settlement secured by the EPA and the Department of Justice to control harmful air pollution from coal-fired power plants, the owner and operator of a plant in St. Johns, Ariz., has agreed to install pollution controls at an estimated cost of $400 million to reduce harmful emissions and pay a $950,000 civil penalty, reported the EPA on Tuesday. The settlement resolved alleged violations of the New Source Review requirements of the Clean Air Act.
The plant will install flue gas desulfurization devices to control SO2 at both units and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) controls to limit NOX at one of the units. This is the first settlement ever to secure an SCR retrofit of an existing coal-fired electric generating unit in the Western United States.
"This settlement marks a significant step in controlling harmful nitrogen oxide emissions in the Western United States," said Granta Nakayama, assistant administrator for the agency's enforcement and compliance assurance program. "The installation of state-of-the-art technology sets an important benchmark for the control of this harmful pollutant. EPA is committed to ensuring coal-fired power plants comply with the Clean Air Act."
The Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District agreed to install and operate new pollution control equipment on both generating units at its Coronado Generating Station. The controls will reduce combined emissions of SO2 and NOX by over 21,000 tons each year, according to an agency release.
The plant was one of several across the country in trouble for NSR violations. In 2000, then-candidate George W. Bush promised to continue pursuit these lawsuits if elected, but several suits, including some that had already settled, were dismissed in 2003. The strong settlement in this case, however, may signal to industry that the White House is now taking a harder line against power companies who violated NSR.