FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The state issued a draft permit for a Peabody Energy power plant in Muhlenberg County without considering the plant’s full effect, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says. Peabody’s proposed Thoroughbred plant would be a 1,500-megawatt generator powered by coal from the company’s local mines.
In written comments, EPA officials noted that the permit lacks analysis for several important pollutants, including sulfuric acid mist, mercury, fluorides and “volatile organic chemicals,” or VOCs.
Federal rules require an analysis when emissions of air pollutants are to exceed specific limits. The threshold for VOCs is 40 tons a year. Emissions for the proposed Peabody plant are expected to be 509 tons a year.
The EPA says the permit from the state Division of Air Quality also failed to address the likely effect plant emissions would have on ozone pollution in the region.
“The effects of emissions from a source like this one could be significant,” said Jim Little, an environmental scientist from the EPA’s regional office in Atlanta. The state agency “should give further consideration to the impact on ozone before issuing a final permit,” Little said.
A spokesman for the Natural Resources Cabinet, parent agency of the air-quality division, said the EPA’s recommendations would be considered. They were received during a public comment period, which is required for all such permits.
The cabinet has 60 days in which to make a final permit decision, spokesman Mark York said.