BALTIMORE, MD (July 23, 2010) - The Public Service Commission conducted a hearing on the Maryland Department of the Environment’s proposed limitations for a permit allowing Energy Answers International, LLC, to construct its proposed “Renewable and Alternative Energy project” in Baltimore City on May 26, 2010. On July 8, 2010, the Public Service Commission Hearing Examiner proposed a decision that a refuse disposal permit is not required at this facility. This proposed decision was contrary to MDE’s recommendation. Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson issued the following statement today on the Public Service Commission’s ruling:
After careful evaluation, the Department has decided not to appeal the Public Service Commission’s decision.
However, on July 23, 2010, the Department entered into a settlement agreement requiring Energy Answers to comply with the substantive requirements of a refuse disposal permit, thereby imposing the same important requirements that would have been required by a permit. These include: ash testing and handling requirements to determine appropriate disposal or re-use; solid waste handling procedures; posting financial security to cover closure costs; and miscellaneous requirements such as fire suppression and waste handling.
Faced with the possibility of pursuing an appeal that would not come out in MDE’s favor, the Department chose instead to obtain a legally binding and enforceable agreement that assures environmental and public health protections will be in place at this facility.
The Public Service Commission did approve the Department’s recommendations to limit air emissions at this facility, including stringent permit limitations to control and mitigate the effects of the facility’s projected mercury emissions. We believe these to be the most stringent mercury emissions rate for any such facility in the Country. The Department also requires the plant to partially offset its mercury emissions by performing annual stream bank restoration projects to reduce mercury-containing sediment from entering waterways, requires Department approval of a transportation plan that will ensure that the mode of transportation of waste to the facility minimizes carbon impacts, and requires state-of-the-art monitoring to ensure the most accurate emissions data possible.