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Ten Years and Still no “Two Elk” For WYO?

February 2, 2009

Cheyenne, WY – Ten years ago this month, developers of the Two Elk coal-fired power plant got an air quality permit, but there's still no plant on the site near Wright. The Sierra Club is asking a federal judge to order them to go through the air quality permitting process again.

Brad Mohrmann, associate regional representative with the Sierra Club in Wyoming, says the permit issued 10 years ago is outdated under the Clean Air Act because, he claims, no significant construction has taken place and the pollution the plant would generate needs to be assessed based on current conditions.

"Regulatory and scientific technology have changed in the last decade. We would like to see the most up-to-date technology used."

A plant spokesman claims significant progress has been made recently, including construction of a new road and the signing of contracts to connect the facility to utility company transmission lines. The developers also are pledging to meet air pollution control technology standards used at the other coal-fired plants in the area.

Mohrmann says the pollution load is already too heavy for public safety, with coalbed methane development, oil and gas drilling, and two other coal-fired power plants in the vicinity.

"The cumulative effect of all of the development going on in the Powder River Basin should be a concern to everyone."

The Sierra Club filed suit in federal district court in Wyoming, pointing to provisions in the Clean Air Act that ensure that permits for new sources of air pollution are based on current information. Two Elk Generation Partners received the original permit, as a subsidiary of the North American Power Group.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY