Exemption Could Avoid Clear Air Retro-Fit

A proposed exemption in the Clean Air Act could allow Minnesota’s largest coal-fired power plant to avoid a costly retro-fit to reduce the haze over the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park.

The Pioneer Press has the full story HERE.

Xcel Energy’s Sherco power plant in Becker, MN burns 30,000 tons of coal a day, which environmental advocates claim is the main cause of haze over the BWCAW and Voyageurs National Park. A retro-fit to bring the plant into strict compliance could cost between $50-million and several hundred million dollars, according to plant officials.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is proposing an exemption for roughly 150 coal-fired plants in 28 states in the eastern United States. The rule would allow the plants, including Sherco, to get credit for pollution reduction measures already taken. Those credits would be enough to keep Xcel Energy from being required to make  further improvements, environmental groups say.

Xcel Energy has not yet taken a position on the EPA exemption.

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