Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Environmental Groups Appeal DEP's 18-Month Extension Of Air Quality Permit For Construction Of Renovo Energy Center Natural Gas-Fired Power Plant In Clinton County

On November 22, the
Clean Air Council, PennFuture, and the Center for Biological Diversity announced they appealed an extension of Renovo Energy Center’s air pollution permit for a large gas-fired power plant — a significant source of new pollution within an environmental justice area. 

The extension by the Department of Environmental Protection  allows the power plant developer an additional 18 months to build the Northcentral Pennsylvania power plant. 

DEP originally permitted the gas-fired plant in April 2021, but Renovo Energy Center has failed to secure financing to move forward. 

This extension comes amid an ongoing appeal by the same groups, challenging the power plant’s air permit, which DEP extended in October. 

In August, the Environmental Hearing Board ruled in favor of the groups in that appeal, finding that DEP set pollution limits too high for two harmful pollutants. That legal challenge continues toward trial on other claims. 

Still, rather than allow the illegal permit to lapse, DEP sent Renovo Energy Center a letter granting the requested extension.  DEP did nothing to alter or fix the illegal permit. 

In their Notice of Appeal, the environmental groups object that the extension is illegal because the permit it extends is illegal and the requirements for an extension were not met.

Renovo is an environmental justice area located along the West Branch Susquehanna River. 

The permit authorizes the plant to emit hundreds of tons of noxious pollutants annually and more greenhouse gases than the City of Pittsburgh. 

Pollution from the power plant would impose a cost of billions of dollars in impacts to health and communities over the course of its lifetime. 

The power plant is being developed by Bechtel Corporation, a Virginia-based multinational engineering corporation.

“Extending a permit that judges just found to be illegal is a slap in the face to residents of Clinton County and to the rule of law,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council, on behalf of all three environmental groups filing this appeal. “Why in the world would DEP break the law just to ensure that a giant fossil fuel power plant can dirty the community’s air? Renewable energy is cleaner, cheaper, and more abundant.”

Click Here for the notice of appeal.


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-- Guest Essay: PA Politicians Capitalizing On Russia's Invasion Of Ukraine To Benefit Natural Gas Industry - By Lauren M. Williams, Esq., Greenworks Law & Consulting LLC  [PaEN]

-- Environmental Groups Appeal DEP's 18-Month Extension Of Air Quality Permit For Construction Of Renovo Energy Center Natural Gas-Fired Power Plant In Clinton County  [PaEN]

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[Posted: November 22, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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