Last month the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) concluded that the construction and operation of the Lackawanna Energy Center will meet all applicable air requirements and on August 1st they issued a Notice of Intent to issue Plan Approvals and Operating Permits under the Air Pollution Control Act. Draft Permit conditions were published in the Scranton Times Tribune on August 1st, 2nd and 3rd and also in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
As part of the permitting process, DEP has been accepting questions and comments from anyone who is interested in the project. On Wednesday (9/2), DEP held a hearing at Valley View High School to answer questions about the air permit and listen to comments. Opponents, as usual, tried to muddy the debate with misinformation and testimony not relevant to the project. But the facts matter. Most importantly, DEP’s preliminary review of the project finds that the Lackawanna Energy Center meets all applicable air quality standards. Here are four important facts to know:
- Public health will be protected – The standards DEP used to measure emissions from this plant are based on national standards developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, with input from numerous public and private organizations. They are designed to protect the health of the most vulnerable among us – children, the elderly, and those with respiratory ailments like asthma. So, when DEP says our emissions meet all air quality requirements, that means the air in Jessup and the Lackawanna Valley will be safe for everyone to breathe.
- Emissions will be closely monitored – Invenergy is a clean energy company committed to vibrant and healthy community relationships. But to be certain that emissions from the facility don’t exceed DEP standards, stack emissions testing will be conducted upon initial start-up and every two years thereafter and key emissions will be continuously monitored whenever the plant is in operation. Moreover, DEP will have the right to conduct regular, unannounced site inspections to be doubly-certain.
- Lackawanna Energy Center will help improve regional air quality – Pollution from coal plants in western Pennsylvania, Ohio and beyond pollutes the air in Jessup. Those coal plants, which are part of the same electric grid as here, emit far more carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter per megawatt hour than a highly-efficient facility like this. Bringing this plant online means coal plants like those run less, helping to reduce overall air pollution in Jessup and NE PA.
- Air-cooling will reduce emissions – The switch from water to air cooling eliminated the need for a wet-cooling tower, which emits low levels of particulate matter as a result of the water cooling process. This particulate matter was considered part of the facility’s emissions, so the switch eliminated that source of emissions. It did not otherwise change the emissions of the facility.
Wednesday night’s hearing represented one more step towards getting this project done; a project that will create more than $50 million in tax and community revenues, over 600 jobs during construction, and 30 permanent jobs. It represents not only an economic opportunity for Jessup but also, as the above points show, a clean energy opportunity for the region.
It’s not too late to let DEP know you support this project. Sit down today and write a letter to their regional office (address below). They will be accepting written comments through September 16th.
Mark Wejkszner, Air Quality Program Manager
DEP Northeast Regional Office
2 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Click below to learn more and show your support. Thank you!