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Greene Energy Resource Recovery Project

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

Wellington Development was founded in 2002 by Wilfred Derby and Anthony Julian, and is based in West Virginia. The company plans to build a 525 megawatt (MW) circulating fluidized bed coal plant that would burn waste coal from four gob piles at abandoned mining operations; the plant would sit on the former LTV Mine site along the Monongahela River. Wellington Development does not plan to build the plant itself; rather, the company will turn the plant over to a utility once permits are in hand. Boord, Benchek, & Associates is the engineering firm for the project.[1][2]

Background

In November 2006, the Pennsylvania Department of Energy approved a proposed plan by Wellington Development to build the project. In an appeal to the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board, the National Parks Conservation Association argued that emissions would damage air quality and visibility in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, which sits 115 miles from the proposed coal plant and is one of the most polluted parks in the nation. In June of 2006, the EHB ruled that the DEP's air pollution mitigation measures will not detrimentally affect the park. After a lengthy appeals process before the EHB, the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) lost an appeal to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court in February 2007.[3]

In October 2007, Wellington acquired a one-year permit to conduct blasts at the site.[4]

In February 2008, the Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Group Against Smog and Pollution and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation took legal action against Wellington Development's proposed Greene Country coal-fired power plant, citing Wellington's failure to begin construction in accordance with the time limitations set out in the permit. The groups also requested that the Pennsylvania DEP revoke Wellington's permit because it does not take into account stricter emission standards on toxic mercury. On May 13, 2008 Judge Maurice Cohill of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania dismissed the Sierra Club's case.[5]

On June 27, 2008, the Pennsylvania DEP ordered Wellington Development to submit an application for a Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) determination. The company must now include a plan to control mercury and other toxic emissions from the plant in order to meet MACT standards.At this time, the Pennsylvania DEP also issued an extension for Wellington Development's permit approval expiration date.[6]

On May 11, 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a Coal Surface Mining Permit to Penn Development Services, allowing the company to conduct coal surface mining operations at the site of Wellington’s proposed Greene County plant. Construction activities at the plant were halted in June 2009 when the developers uncovered a 500-ton coal vein at the property. The department also issued a water pollution control permit for the mining activities the same day. A few days later, Penn and Wellington signed a Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty, agreeing to pay the state a $60,000 fine for unlawful activities related to its previous construction at the site.[7]

In November 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released a notice that it will hold a public meeting to answer questions and take testimony concerning Wellington Development’s application to extend and modify the Plan Approval for the proposed Greene County coal plant. The DEP intends to approve Wellington’s request to extend the Plan Approval by five years and modify certain permit conditions to limit emissions of hazardous air pollutants.[7]

On December 17, 2010, the Sierra Club –along with Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), and National Parks Conservation Association– asked the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to deny Wellington’s request for a second extension and modification of its Plan Approval, saying the permit relies on outdated emissions control technologies, and does not set necessary limits for greenhouse gas emissions.[7]

On April 6, 2011, the Pennsylvania DEP released a plan approval modification for the Greene Energy Resource Recovery Project. The permit extension pushes the date by which Wellington must finish construction to April, 2016. Though Wellington officially commenced construction in 2006, the project has been on hold while the developer attempts to secure funding.[7]

Project Details

Sponsor: Wellington Development
Location: Nemacolin, Greene County, PA
Capacity: 580 MW
Type: Circulating fluidized bed
Projected in service: 2016
Status: Shelved/On hold

Financing

Citizen Groups

Resources

References

  1. Proposed Plant Would Turn Coal Waste Into Electricity, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 30, 2003.
  2. Truth About Gob website, accessed January 2008.
  3. Court Rules In Favor of Plant Construction, Washington Observer-Reporter, April 13, 2007.
  4. Public Water Supply Permits, Pennsylvania Bulletin, October 13, 2007.
  5. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed November 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  6. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed November 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Stopping the Coal Rush" Sierra Club, accessed November 2011.

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