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Lower emission deadline extended

Published (6/1/2010)
By Sue Hegarty
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Minnesota Power will have more time to reach its statutory goal of reducing its mercury emissions.

The Duluth-based utility will have until July 1, 2015, to file mercury emissions reduction plans for its Boswell 4 generating facility and until Dec. 31, 2018, to implement those plans. The extension is needed because the economic downturn, coupled with a pending rate increase request for capital investment dollars to install mercury reduction technology, have slowed the company’s ability to comply with state law, according to Margaret Hodnik, Minnesota Power vice president of regulatory and legal affairs. Also, Minnesota Power would prefer to delay the completion of emission controls until pending federal regulations are known that could impact compliance standards, Hodnik said.

Sponsored by Rep. Bill Hilty (DFL-Finlayson) and Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon (DFL-Duluth), the law requires Minnesota Power to submit annual reports to the Legislature beginning July 1, 2011.

Reports must contain mercury control plans, including how the plan may affect the performance and cost-effectiveness of emission controls for pollutants other than mercury. Reports must also assess the impact of proposed federal laws regulating air pollution emitted by coal-fired power plants and how the utility plans to react to those laws, such as installing pollution control equipment, using pollution allowances to achieve regulatory compliance and retiring or repowering a plant with cleaner fuels. Impact on ratepayers must be analyzed and included in the report, as well.

The law is effective May 14, 2010.

HF3667/ SF3080*/CH325

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