STATUS: In progress with opposition; Litigation
OPPOSITION: The Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Save the Valley, Sierra Club, Valley Watch
BACKGROUND: In September 2006, Duke Energy Indiana and Vectren filed a petition with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission requesting permission to build a two-turbine 630 megawatt (MW) Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle (IGCC) power plant in Edwardsport, Indiana to replace an existing plant consisting of coal and oil units built between 1944 and 1951, that will be retired. Vectren backed out of the project in August 2007. Currently, construction costs are estimated at $2.35 billion but there are indications continued delay will raise the final price.
In November 2007, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) approved Duke Energy's proposal. Sierra Club and others sued.
In January 2008, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) approved an air permit. Sierra Club and others filed an appeal with the Indiana Office of Environmental Adjudication challenging the permit in February 2008. Sierra Club also filed a federal citizen’s suit seeking to block the project in April 2008.
In October 2008, Sierra Club’s IURC appeal was denied.
Construction began in 2009.
In September 2010, summary judgment was granted against Sierra Club on the federal citizen’s suit. However, this decision was stayed pending resolution of a related Seventh Circuit court of appeals case regarding the proper statute of limitations for a PSD claim. At the same time, however, Sierra Club petitioned the EPA asking the federal government to override the IDEM operating permit.
In October 2010, there were revelations that Duke Energy officials had spoken with IURC regulators responsible for the matter regarding job opportunities at Duke. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels fired IURC chief David Lott Hardy for allegedly allowing an agency official to continue presiding over a Duke Energy case even after talking with the utility about a job opportunity. In November, Duke fired two of its executives. However, the State of Indiana has opened an investigation regarding all communications between Duke and regulators from 2006 forward.
In November 2010, IDEM issued the final NPDES permit. Appeals must be filed by November 28th.
As of November 2010, Sierra Club and others have live challenges against the plant before the Indiana Office of Environmental Adjudication and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A challenge to the NPDES permit is likely. Nevertheless construction continues and is approximately thirty-five percent complete.
SOURCES: http://www.citact.org/dukeigcc/pdfs/DukeVectrenIGCCReport.pdf http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=24750 http://www.puco.ohio.gov/emplibrary/files/media/Publications/MARC/Pashos.Duke.ppt http://www.duke-energy.com/pdfs/igcc-fact-sheet.pdf
http://permits.air.idem.in.gov/28683f.pdf http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=32090#middle http://www.citact.org/pdfs/Duke_Air_Permit_Appeal.pdf http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/indiana/insdce/1:2008cv00437/18128/116/ http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/power_city/2010/11/rogers-sees-no-improprieties-at-ind.html
LAST UPDATED: November 16, 2010