By Michael Hartranft
Public Service Company of New Mexico has petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the federal plan adopted in August requiring more pollution controls at the San Juan Generation Station to combat regional haze.
The utility company contends the agency did not properly consider a plan submitted by the state that proposes an alternative technology, which its says would achieve similar visibility improvements at a significantly lower cost.
“In finalizing its own regional haze plan for a plant that reliably and affordably serves 2 million customers in four states, EPA ignored the primary role given to the states by the federal Clean Air Act,” said Pat Vincent-Collawn, president and CEO of PNM Resources, parent company of PNM.
The EPA says selective catalytic reduction would be the most cost-effective way, at an estimated $345 million, for San Juan to meet the federal haze requirements. PNM and the owners of the plant have five years to comply.
PNM, which appealed the EPA decision in the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last month, contends SCR would cost about $750 million or more.
The state’s alternative, selective non-catalytic reduction, is estimated to cost about $77 million.
PNM also asked the EPA to immediately stay its decision while the agency considers the petition for reconsideration. It made a similar request of the agency when it appealed the case to the federal appellate court, contending that it will have to spend millions on planning and design without knowing if the EPA decision will stand.
The company said it supports a petition challenging the decision filed Friday by Gov. Susana Martinez and the state Environment Department in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The state has also requested EPA to reconsider its decision.
Last week, the Court of Appeals allowed a coalition of environmental groups that support the EPA decision – Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, National Parks Conservation Association, New Energy Economy, San Juan Citizens Alliance and Sierra Club – to intervene in the PNM appeal.