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Sevier Plant

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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.

This 270 megawatt (MW) Sevier Plant was a proposed coal-fired power plant that was to be built in Sigurd, Utah, by NEVCO Energy Company. On Oct. 12, 2004, the Utah Division of Air Quality approved an air permit for this project.[1] In November 2012 it was announced that the plant was going to be developed as a natural gas plant.[2]

Background

In Nov. 2004, the Sierra Club and the Grand Canyon Trust appealed this decision to the Utah Air Quality Board.[3] In July 2007, the Sierra Club was granted standing in the appeal case; oral arguments were heard in October.[4] On Nov. 7, the Utah Air Quality Board threw out the Sierra Club’s case, ruling that the company had provided the information that Utah regulations required.[5]

On Dec. 12, 2007, by a 3-2 vote, the Sevier County Planning and Zoning Commission approved the preliminary conditional use permit for the plant.[6]

In November 2008, voters in Sevier County overwhelmingly approved a grassroots initiative requiring a public vote to allow a new coal-fired power plant in the area. The measure amends the zoning ordinance so that the county cannot issue a conditional-use permit to a coal plant without voter approval. A 6th District judge halted the citizen referendum in October, but the state Supreme Court overturned the ruling. The success of the measure leaves the future of NEVCO's proposed plant uncertain.[7] The company's attorney said NEVCO may try to move the project to a different county or switch the plant to natural gas.[8]

On November 20, 2008, lawyers for Sevier Power sent a letter to Sevier County Commisioners asking them to make a final decision on this plant by January 5, 2009. County Commissioners expect to give their final decision on this plant on May 4, 2009.[9]

On May 1, 2009, Sevier Power delayed the County Commissioners' decision until two pending lawsuits could be resolved. One lawsuit concerned the county's initial zoning approval and another, which had reached the Utah Supreme Court, was an appeal of the air quality permit issued by the state. Sevier said it expected it to take at least six months for the cases to be resolved.[10]

On December 4, 2009, the Utah Supreme Court overturned the Sevier Plant's air permit, calling the Utah Division of Air Quality Board's review of the permit "woefully inaccurate." The Court ruled in favor of the Sierra Club and remanded the permit over inadequate nitrogen oxide limits and failure to consider integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) as a best available control technology. The ruling also held that the permit had expired, because the company failed to start construction within 18 months after it was issued. The court's findings may mean the end of the plant proposal. Attorneys for Sevier suggested that the company may decide to cancel the project instead of incurring the expense of pursuing a state permit again.[10][11]

In March 2010, the Sierra Club reported that the company is considering switching the plant to natural gas.[12]

Project Details

Sponsor: NEVCO Energy Company
Location: Sigurd, Sevier County, UT
Capacity: 270 MW
Type: Circulating fluidized bed
Projected in service:
Status: Developed as a Gas Plant

Financing

Citizen Groups

Resources

References

  1. Approval Order: Sevier Power Company's 270 MW Coal-Fired Power Plant, Utah Department of Environmental Quality website, October 12, 2004.
  2. "Sevier County natural gas power plant clears state regulatory hurdle" Dave Anderson, Sun Advocate, November 12, 2012.
  3. Environmentalists Seek to Block Two Coal-Fired Plants, Deseret News, November18, 2004.
  4. Power Plant Emits More Controversy, Richfield Reaper, September 25, 2007.
  5. State Board Upholds Permit for Coal-Fired Power Plant, Salt Lake Tribune, November 8, 2007.
  6. Coal Power Plant Proposal in Sigurd Wins Zoning OK, Deseret Morning News, December 13, 2007.
  7. "Sevier backs coal-plant measure; Box Elder repeals landfill sale," Salt Lake Tribune, November 5, 2008.
  8. "Utah county voters pass measure on coal plants," Associated Press, November 5, 2008.
  9. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed May 2009. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed December 2009. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  11. "Utah Supreme Court rules against coal power plant," Associated Press, December 4, 2009.
  12. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed March 2010. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)

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