Posted by: Patricia Salkin | April 1, 2012

DEC Proposed Draft Rules Regarding Power Plant Siting and Carbon Emissions

On January 18, 2012, DEC proposed two regulations that would require electricity generating facilities in New York to evaluate potential environmental justice impacts in siting decisions and limit carbon dioxide from new or expanded power plants.  DEC said that the environmental justice draft rule would be the first in the United States to require an analysis of potential disproportionate impacts on nearby communities in major power plant siting decisions.  The draft rules (N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 6, pt. 487 and N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. Tit. 6, pt. 251) were proposed to implement provisions of the Power NY Act of 2011, which was signed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in August 2011.  The proposed environmental justice regulations would establish a regulatory framework to analyze environmental justice issues associated with the siting or expansion of major generating facilities.  Applicants would have to evaluate any “significant and adverse disproportionate environmental impacts” from a facility’s construction or operation.  The analysis would have to include the cumulative air quality impact of the facility, as well as comparative demographic, economic, and physical data for the community where the facility would be located, versus data for the county and adjacent communities.

 

The proposed carbon dioxide regulations would establish limits for proposed new major power plants with a capacity of at least 25 megawatts and for increases in capacity of at least 25 megawatts at existing facilities.  For most new or expanded base load fossil-fuel-fired plants, the proposed carbon dioxide emission rules would set an output-based limit of 925 pounds per megawatt-hour or an input-based limit of 120 pounds per million British thermal units.  For simple cycle combustion turbines, the draft rules would set an output-based limit of 1,450 pounds per megawatt-hour or an input-based limit of 160 pounds per million btus.  Each facility’s owner or operator could choose whether to comply with the output-based or input-based emission limits.  For certain power plants that fire non-fossil fuels, the draft rules would allow DEC to set case-specific limits and require recordkeeping, monitoring, and reporting consistent with existing state and federal regulations. Power plants in the state currently are required to comply with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) program, as well as certain federal requirements regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental justice draft rules are available at http:/// www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/79626.html.  The carbon dioxide performance standards for major electric generating facilities are available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/79520.html. (DEC Press Release Jan. 18, 2012).

This information is from Environmental Law in New York.


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