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EPA Seeks More Pollution Controls for Some ND Power Plants

September 22, 2011

BISMARCK, N.D. - A public hearing will be held next month in Bismarck on a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency to address pollution from North Dakota power plants. Supporters say it'll mean cleaner air. Critics say the cost is too high and the impact minimal. Comments from Stephanie Kodish, for the National Parks Conservation Association.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to halt air pollution in North Dakota. The EPA has proposed a plan that would require four power plants to make upgrades to reduce emissions.

Stephanie Kodish, managing attorney for the National Parks Conservation Association, applauds the decision.

"They could have done a bit better job in issuing those plans, but they're nonetheless incredibly significant because they will result in thousands and thousands of tons in emission reductions."

Critics of the EPA plan say the new anti-pollution technology costs hundreds of millions of dollars and could mean significantly higher electricity rates, but the improvement over current systems would be minor. A public hearing on the matter is set for Oct. 13 at the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library.

Kodish says the EPA must take action in cases like this, especially to make sure that the nation's parks are protected. She says the trend right now is towards more pollution in the National Park System.

"In 2009, there were 196 days of ozone exceedances. In 2010, there were 223, and with about a month and a half left in the ozone season for 2011, there are already 234."

The ozone exceedances have occurred this year in 18 national parks that are monitored. The levels at Theodore Roosevelt National Park have stayed below the EPA's health-based ozone standards.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND