BALTIMORE, MD (September 27, 2004) – Ozone-causing emissions from coal-fired units at three major power plants in Maryland and a fourth plant in Virginia will be reduced by nearly 65 percent – and by over 70 percent during the summer ozone season – under a settlement reached with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).
In a case that also involved the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Mirant Mid-Atlantic LLC agreed to reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides (NOx) released by its four plants in the Washington, D.C. region starting in 2004. Additional reductions will be required each year until 2010.
“This agreement will have a substantial impact on the air quality in the entire Washington area,” said Kendl P. Philbrick, Maryland’s secretary of the environment. Reducing air pollution in the Washington, D.C. area will help the region comply with the federal Clean Air Act standards by 2010, Philbrick said.
Under the terms of the agreement:
- Mirant will install state-of-the-art NOx controls on its two coal-fired units at the Morgantown plant, the company’s largest in Maryland. The controls will be fully operational by May 2008. Mirant has also agreed to install NOx controls on three of the units at its Potomac River Plant in Alexandria.
- The company will run the NOx controls year-round, not just during the summertime ozone season, to meet an emissions rate of .10 pounds per million BTUs. Operating the controls year-round will further reduce nitrogen deposition in the Chesapeake Bay and other Maryland waterways and help the state meet the federal standard for fine particulates.
- Mirant’s coal-fired plants will meet a system-wide ozone season NOx limit of .15 pounds per million BTUs in 2008.
- Over the next six years, Mirant will meet sharply declining ozone season and annual NOx emission tonnage caps.
“We estimate that by 2010 NOx emissions from Mirant’s coal-burning units will be cut by nearly 75 percent during the ozone season and by 65 percent on an annual basis,” Philbrick said. “This is welcome news for the entire region.”
The settlement resolves alleged NOx emissions limit violations at the Potomac River plant during the 2003 ozone season.
The settlement was filed in federal district court in Northern Virginia. Several things must happen before the settlement takes effect. Public comment will be solicited and a federal bankruptcy court in Texas must approve the settlement, as must the federal district court judge.