STATUS: In progress with opposition
OPPOSITION: Sierra Club; local residents
BACKGROUND: Power Holdings Company announced its plans to build a coal-to-synthetic natural gas plant near Waltonville, Illinois in 2006. In March 2007, a group of local residents met to voice their opposition of the project citing environmental impacts, safety, economic impact, and quality of life. In January 2009, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency made a preliminary determination that the coal plant is entitled to a construction permit. A PSD permit was issued in October, 2009. On November 25th, the Sierra Club filed an appeal with the federal Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), asking the Illinois EPA (IEPA) to review the coal gasification plant's construction permit. The Sierra Club argued that the permit does not require the best available control technology for gas flaring and fails to include limits for carbon dioxide and methane emissions, both of which are pollutants subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.
In March 2010, the Illinois State Senate approved legislation by a margin of 50-0 to allow Power Holdings to enter into long-term contracts to sell the gas the plant will produce.
In August 13, 2010, the U.S. EPA's Environmental Appeals Board issued an order denying the Club's Petition for Review challenging the proposed plant. In its order, the board ruled against the Club on three main issues covering public notice and comment, collateral impacts from burning synthetic natural gas vs. natural gas in the boilers, and greenhouse gas regulations under Illinois' state implementation plan nuisance provisions. With financing, this project can move forward.
SOURCES: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/mar/24/daniels-sings-funding-spencer-county-coal–gas-pla/?partner=yahoo_headlines http://yosemite.epa.gov/OA/EAB_WEB_Docket.nsf/Filings%20By%20Appeal%20Number/0D79B866723F56338525767B005C6897?OpenDocument http://thesouthern.com/news/local/article_fd63c6b2-3311-11df-b8bc-001cc4c002e0.html
LAST UPDATED: November 15, 2010