Thursday, February 16, 2006

Applicant's Project Purpose as a Limit on Available Alternatives

Many of us are familiar with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers coy approach to defining practicable alternatives, both for the purposes of NEPA and for purposes of the dredge and fill permitting regulations.  The applicant's definition of the purpose is allowed to narrow the alternatives considered by the agency.  Now, EPA is developing an analogous approach in doing BACT analysis for CAA major source permitting in PSD areas. 

In a December 13, 2005 letter, the U.S. EPA announced that integrated gasification combined cycle ("IGCC") technology need not be considered under a Clean Air Act best available control technology ("BACT") analysis for proposed pulverized coal electricity generating facilities. EPA reasoned that IGCC technology would redefine the proposed project, which Congress did not intend to require in a BACT analysis.


ABA SEER notes that this  interpretation diverges from determinations in some states that, either under federal or state clean air provisions, IGCC must be considered in a BACT analysis for proposed pulverized coal power plants.  This has led ABA SEER to present a teleconference on this issue on February 21st.  EPA's IGCC Decision: Redefining the Project or the Clean Air Act

Air Quality, Climate Change, Energy, Governance/Management, Law, US | Permalink

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