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06-13-2003b

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 6 months ago

June 13, 2003

MASS DEP, USGEN NE AGREE ON SALEM POWER PLANT CLEAN UP PLAN

 

 

In a move that earned the overwhelming support of environmental and community groups, the Romney administration today announced a major step forward in the clean up of the Salem Harbor Power Plant, one of the state’s oldest and dirtiest power plants.

 

The agreement avoids a long and protracted legal battle that would have indefinitely threatened the plant’s compliance with the state’s strict emission reduction requirements.

 

“I am pleased we now have a plan for the clean up of the Salem Power Plant,” Governor Romney said. “We can be confident that when this plant runs, the health of the citizens nearby will be protected.”

 

After several weeks of intense negotiations, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), USGEN New England (USGen NE), the City of Salem, the Conservation Law Foundation, HealthLink, MASSPIRG, Clean Water Action and the Wenham Lake Watershed Association reached consensus on a plan to clean up the power plant.

 

The agreement, embodied in an Administrative Consent Order, was hailed by the City of Salem as well as environmental and community groups.

 

Salem Mayor Stanley J. Usovicz, Jr., said, “With this agreement, Governor Romney and I have found common ground that ensures that the environment will be protected while at the same time protecting the long-term viability of Salem Harbor Station – which is tremendously important to the people of Salem.”

 

Usovicz added, “Working together, state officials, environmentalists, communityactivists and the city have crafted a roadmap that will lead to the plant’s clean- up as quickly as possible while at the same time preserving jobs and critical tax revenues.”

 

“Through Governor Romney’s leadership and vision, all parties to this dispute were able to put down their swords and participate in an overdue but open and honest discussion. Through this process a compromise was reached that not only recognizes the needs of all of the parties, but most importantly better protects the health of those living on the North Shore,” said Lori Ehrlich of The Wenham Lake Watershed Association.

 

“This agreement helps avoid the worst of all possible worlds: a protracted legal battle that extends the timeline for cleanup of the Salem Harbor Station indefinitely,” said Cindy Luppi, Clean Water Action Organizing Director. “It also triggers initial pollution reductions immediately, which means a great deal to residents with asthma and other respiratory problems who are most impacted by the plant’s emissions.”

 

“This agreement represents a critical step forward in the resolution of the intractable conflict over the Salem Harbor plant and our older power plants in general,” said Seth Kaplan, Senior Attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation. “The agreement works because everyone gets something: the community and the environment get the benefit of short term pollution reductions that would not have otherwise happened as well as long term assurance that emissions from the plant will be cleaned up and the city and the company get greater predictability.”

 

“This compromise gives the community some immediate pollution reductions that help offset the longer timeline,” said Jane Bright of HealthLink. “Given the health concerns, we felt this was crucial. We are also addressing the coal pile problems in an enforceable document, a bonus since the regulations did not deal with the grime that blows into the neighborhoods and beyond.”

 

“If the plant is needed to deliver electricity, this agreement ensures it will deliver electricity while meeting Massachusetts’ clean air rules,” said Frank Gorke, the Energy Advocate at MASSPIRG.

 

The agreement marks the end of litigation between DEP and USGen NE over when the Salem Harbor plant would reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions to comply with regulations passed in 2001 requiring cleanup of the state’s oldest coal-fire power facilities.

 

In the settlement, the company agreed to immediately undertake early emissions reduction measures, including the burning of low-sulfur oil in Unit 4, a measure that will enable the largest unit at the plant to achieve compliance with the SO2 emission standard beginning in January of 2004. In October of 2005, USGen NE will come into compliance with the new air regulations. They will track the amount of emissions generated at the facility and offset excess emissions over time through the use of on-site generated early reduction credits and “overcontrols.”

 

By July of 2006, the agreement anticipates the installation and operation of all control equipment necessary and to achieve full compliance with the state’s strict emission standards based on permit, construction and funding constraints.

 

The company has also agreed to immediately begin year-round operation of controls for nitrogen oxides on coal-burning Units 1-3 to complete burner optimization on Unit 4, to improve its coal-handling and ship unloading procedures, and to seek funding to support the installation of a wind screen for dust mitigation as soon as permitting allows.

 

“This agreement is a win-win for everyone involved,” said Chris Iribe, President of USGEN-New England. “It will help assure electric reliability for the region, which has been of great concern to all involved in this process and it moves forward with near-term environmental protection and improvements at the power plant that everyone has agreed need to be done.”

 

 

 

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Contact Information:

 

Mayor Usovicz, City of Salem: 978-740-0072

 

Seth Kaplan, CLF: 617-350-0990 x721

 

Jane Bright, HealthLink: 781-631-8104

 

Lori Ehrlich, The Wenham Lake Watershed Association: 781-639-0299

 

Cindy Luppi, Clean Water Action: 617-338-8131

 

Frank Gorke, MASSPIRG: 617-292-4800

 

Shawn Cooper, National Energy Group: 202-638-3545

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