The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (of which Tri-State is a member) has released a video documenting the potential effects that the increasing number of environmental regulations could have on communities whose economies depend on the energy industry, including Nucla, Colo., where Tri-State owns and operates a 100-megawatt coal-based power plant.
Tri-State’s Nucla Station is featured prominently in the video – which is called “Community Power” – along with a number of residents and businesspeople that reside in the nearby towns of Nucla and Naturita.
The video depicts how these two rural communities could be irreparably harmed by the EPA’s recently issued Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule for mercury that potentially raises the cost of operating power plants to such an extent that it forces their closure.
Tri-State doesn’t oppose the regulation of mercury to achieve mercury emissions reductions at existing power plants to benefit public health and the environment. In fact, Tri-State’s coal-fired power plants are low emitters of mercury and comply with stringent state mercury limits.
Tri-State’s Nucla Station in southwest Colorado shows the lowest mercury emissions of any coal-fired power plant in the United States according to EPA data.
Tri-State is, however, significantly concerned about the non-mercury emission requirements in the rule, where EPA did not have the legal authority to regulate. The expense of meeting these non-mercury regulatory requirements could sufficiently increase the plant’s operating costs to the point where it would be difficult to economically operate the plant.
“The EPA’s layering of multiple regulations threatens to take coal off the table as a generation fuel source option,” said Tri-State executive vice president and general manager Ken Anderson. “That’s why we are working with our partners, such as ACCCE, to get the message out about EPA’s overreach and the resulting impact that is threatening our operations and driving up costs to our members.”
Tri-State is one of many utilities, 24 states and other interests that have filed suit against the EPA to review the flawed MACT rule. On a parallel track, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote soon on a bill to prohibit the rule’s implementation.