“From our perspective we thought it went well,” Kent Carson, AMP-Ohio communications director said. “We’re happy with the people who came out in support of the project and appreciated that.”
Carson also said he felt not all of the comments made by those who were questioning the modification were “germane to the administration modification which was the purpose of the hearing.”
In terms of opponents questioning mercury limitations in the modification, Carson said: “There were stringent mercury limits contained in the final air permit issued in February 2008 and those limits were more stringent than what existed at the time in the federal law and among the most stringent in country and they are still in effect, obviously AMP-Ohio will operate the facility and meet or beat those limits.”
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the air permit, which remains under appeal by various environmental groups, but required a modification because one of the rules relied upon in the original permit is no longer applicable on a federal level.
The original air permit-to-install relied upon the Clean Air Mercury Rule later vacated by the government in favor of Maximum Achievable Control Technology requirements related to the emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP). MACT is meant to establish emission limits for the AMP-Ohio power plant; limits which are designed to ensure compliance with federal and state clean air standards to protect public health.
Carson said the modification only adjusted limits on two pollutants, hydrogen chloride or hydrogen fluoride (which were not in the original permit) while other pollutants covered in the air permit met the MACT standard.
After attending the meeting, Carson responded to points brought up by opponents during the hearing, including what they considered flaws in the draft modification. He explained some points he felt were being overlooked were the 18 months or more of review that went into the original permit by Ohio EPA, including extensive modeling done in preparation for the permit-to-install, and stringent emission limits contained in that permit-to-install.
Carson also felt AMP-Ohio’s use and incorporation of renewable sources of energy is often overlooked by opponents. Carson cited the company’s current involvement in hydroelectric and wind energy projects.
“We’re doing things people want us to do and are continuing to develop renewables,” Carson explained but added the company realizes coal is part of the energy equation.
Carson said the American Municipal Power-Ohio Generating Station will be much cleaner than other coal-fired power plants in the region, calling AMPGS “state of the art.”
AMP-Ohio is still waiting on approval of its 404 U.S, Army Corps of Engineers permit while its air permit and National Pollutant Discharge Permit are under appeal by various environmental groups. Carson said AMP-Ohio still hopes to break ground on AMPGS later this year or early next year.