Biomass Power Plants Fined More Than $830,000 For Clean Air Act Violations: The United States, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District lodged consent decrees against two biomass power plants in Calif. The two companies have agreed to pay a combined civil penalty of $835,000 to resolve alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act and District rules, including excess emissions of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides—a precursor to ozone—and fine particulates.
The settlements require the facilities to install devices to improve monitoring and reporting of air pollutants; enhance automation of the control systems for nitrogen oxides emissions; and prepare more stringent control plans to minimize emissions of air pollutants. As a part of this action, the companies have installed controls that reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by up to 180 tons per year and carbon monoxide by up to 365 tons per year. The EPA and District will continue to monitor both facilities for an additional two years to ensure completion of all requirements.
A joint investigation by the EPA and District found that they violated the air permits issued to them by the District by:
- Emitting air pollutants including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide in excess of the permit limits;
- Failing to perform timely source testing to measure emissions of various air pollutants;
- Failing to properly install and operate emissions control systems for nitrogen oxides, a precursor to ozone; and
- Failing to certify the continuous emissions monitoring systems.
The plants also violated various District rules including requirements for emissions control plans.
Both proposed consent decrees are subject to a 30-day public comment period and final approval by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. A copy of each decree is available at http://www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.