Read more : http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Tennessee Valley Authority has agreed to shutter 18 coal-fired units at three power plants and make major improvements at 10 other sites, in a deal that's being called one of the largest pollution reductions agreements in the nation's history.
TVA officials said other plant closings and pollution control upgrades are under consideration as the federal utility attempts to move toward being "one of the nation's leading providers of low-cost and cleaner energy" by 2020.
"As times change, TVA must adapt to meet future challenges," utility president Tom Kilgore said after the TVA board approved the changes.
The deal, which resolves federal government enforcement actions and citizen lawsuits, nearly triples the coal-fired capacity from the 1,000 megawatts TVA had announced last year it planned to idle.
Plants in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky are affected by the plan, which will reduce the TVA coal fleet's nitrogen oxide emissions by 69 percent and sulfur dioxide emissions by 67 percent. The plan will also cut particulate matter pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, helping to reduce respiratory illnesses and combat global warming.
"Today's landmark agreement is a game changer for how we power our homes and businesses in the southeast," said Mary Ann Hitt, director of the Beyond Coal Campaign at the Sierra Club, one of the groups that filed suit seeking the TVA pollution reductions.
The settlement also required TVA to pay $10 million in fines, and spend and estimated $3 billion to $5 billion on new and upgraded pollution controls. TVA will also invest $350 million in clean energy projects that will reduce pollution, save energy and protect public health and the environment.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials announced the deal as the Obama administration continues to push for tougher restrictions on coal-mining water pollution, propose tougher rules on power plant hazardous air pollution and combat congressional efforts to block limits on greenhouse gas emissions.