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Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 12:30pm

EPD Revises New Coal Plant Permit

A proposed coal plant in middle Georgia has tightened its air permits per a court order. But environmental groups say the plant still won’t comply with a proposed federal rule scheduled to come out this fall.

Under the revised permit, Plant Washington will pollute less toxic metals and carbon monoxide. Federal regulators are scheduled to issue stricter standards for those pollutants and mercury in November.

Environmentalists want the revised permit to reflect new mercury standards too.

But Dean Alford with Power for Georgians, the group of electric cooperatives building the plant, says they won’t address the new mercury rule until it's finalized.

"It’s kind of guessing about what may or may not happen. A year and a half ago everyone was asking about cap and trade," says Alford. "Until this thing is over, it’s pure speculation about what this standard is going to be and where they’re going to end up."

The coal energy industry nationwide has come out against the proposed rule saying it will cost too much to comply and drive up energy costs.

The Environmental Protection Division is taking public comment on the air permit revisions regarding toxic metals and carbon monoxide emissions until August 29th. It’s holding a public hearing in Sandersville Thursday evening at 6:30.

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