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DEQ's proposed revisions to air pollution control rules adopted in 2009 for the PGE Boardman coal-fired power plant were approved by the Environmental Quality Commission at the commission's December 2010 meeting. The revisions allow PGE to choose to close the coal-fired power plant near Boardman by 2020 and satisfy federal requirements for air quality and pollution controls to reduce haze emissions. The rules also:
Read more in the staff report, and see the final rulemaking documents below.
Anticipated results of the regulation:
DEQ concluded that the proposed BART controls, when combined with the permanent closure of plant no later than 2020, meet federal requirements and provide a significant environmental and public health benefit for Oregon. In brief, DEQ's rules:
2010 Rule Changes and Rulemaking Documents
Additional 2010 Rulemaking Documents:
Questions and Answers
Background on PGE's proposed 2020 shutdown and DEQ's rulemaking
On April 2, 2010, PGE submitted a petition to the Environmental Quality Commission to revise DEQ's regional haze rules for the Boardman coal-fired power plant, adopted in 2009 as part of Oregon's Regional Haze Plan. DEQ's 2009 pollution control rules for Boardman were based on a remaining useful life for that facility through at least 2040. In the petition, PGE proposed an alternative approach for meeting federal regional haze requirements to install best available retrofit technology (commonly known as "BART"), as well as elimination of other pollution control requirements, all in conjunction with closing the Boardman coal-fired power plant on Dec. 31, 2020.
On June 17, the EQC voted to deny PGE's petition to reduce the stringency of regional haze pollution controls for the PGE Boardman coal-fired plant, based on DEQ's recommendation that PGE's proposal needed to include a wider range of pollution control options in order to meet BART requirements and be approvable by EPA.
In late August PGE submitted a second proposal for 2020 closure that is similar to DEQ’s 2018 closure proposal. DEQ took comments on its and PGE's alternative proposal during the public comment period in September.
During the comment period, DEQ received a new proposal from PGE that would require the Boardman facility to meet increasingly stringent emission limits and close no later than Dec. 31 2020. DEQ reopened the public comment period from Oct. 29 through Nov. 15, 2010 and held two additional public hearings on Nov. 8 and 9 in Portland and Boardman. After reviewing the public comments from the first and second comment periods, DEQ prepared a recommendation for the Environmental Quality Commission to consider at their December 9-10, 2010 meeting in Portland.
DEQ concluded that the proposed BART controls, when combined with the permanent closure of plant no later than 2020, meet federal requirements and provide a significant environmental and public health benefit for Oregon. The Commission approved the recommendation.
2009 Rulemaking on Regional Haze Plan
On June 19, 2009, the Environmental Quality Commission adopted Oregon's Regional Haze Plan required by the federal Clean Air Act, which included stringent pollution controls for Portland General Electric's coal-fired power plant near Boardman. The new requirements will result in significant visibility improvements and reduced pollution for Oregon's Class I wilderness areas and national parks as well as the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
PGE Boardman Mercury Compliance
DEQ's Utility Mercury Rule (Division 228) sets limits on mercury emissions from new plants and mandates the installation of mercury controls at the PGE Boardman coal-fired power plant. These rules, adopted in 2006, will require the Boardman plant to reduce mercury emissions by 90 percent by July 1, 2012. None of the proposed changes related to the early closure of this plant will affect this compliance deadline.
PGE Boardman Title V permit and other Air Quality permit actions
There are several other permitting actions currently under review, involving other topics not directly related to PGE's proposed 2020 shutdown and DEQ's rulemaking. For information on PGE's Title V operating permit renewal, low NOx burner PSD permit application, and permitting related to PGE's two natural gas-fired plants – Coyote Springs and Carty power plants, contact Mark Fisher in DEQ's Eastern Region Office.
PGE Other permits - Water Quality and Solid Waste
In addition to PGE Boardman's air quality permit, DEQ also administers the plant's water quality permit, which includes provisions for managing and handling wastewater that results from the plants industrial process. This permit also contains provisions for managing solid waste produced by power generation and other activities at the plant. See below to access information from DEQ’s online databases about this permit.