White Pine Energy Station

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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.

The final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the White Pine Energy Station project, proposed by LS Power Development and Dynegy, was released in October 2008. The Sierra Club submitted comments on the draft EIS in June 2007. In Aug. 2007, in comments submitted on the project’s draft EIS, the federal EPA questioned the need for the plant.[1] In 2009 it was announced that the plant would be indefinitely postponed because of poor economic conditions and "increasing regulatory uncertainties."[2]

Background

In September 2007, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sent letters to Dynegy and five other companies, raising the concern that carbon dioxide risks from pending projects had not been adequately disclosed.[3] On Sept. 7, a request by several environmental groups to delay the permit approval process was denied by the Nevada Environmental Commission.[4]. The Nevada Republican Party endorsed the project in Oct. 2007.[5]

In November, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection announced that it was opening its review of its agreements with LS to input from environmental groups.[6] An effort by Nevada’s U.S. Senator Harry Reid – the Senate majority leader – to block the plant’s funding in the Senate stalled in Dec. 2007.[7]

On October 3, 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the final environmental impact statement for the White Pine plant. The BLM is expected to grant LS Power the right of way for the power plant in 30 days, however LS Power still needs additional permits from the Nevada EPA, including the final air permit.[8]

In late November 2008, the Sierra Club submitted written comments on the BLM's Final Environmental Impact Study for the White Pine plant. The comments noted the final study's many deficiencies, including its failure to adequately analyze impacts from the proposed plant's greenhouse gas emissions, its failure to study in full the plant's effects on nearby Great Basin, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, and its failure to sufficiently assess the plant's impacts on the state's air quality. The Sierra Club also sent a letter to the Nevada DEP, requesting that the the air permitting process and the plant's carbon dioxide emissions be re-considered in light of a recent regulatory ruling, filed in an appeal of the air permit for the proposed Bonanza coal plant in Utah. US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also sent a letter to Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons asking Gibbons to reconsider his support for the White Pine plant and two others proposed for the state on the basis of the Bonanza ruling.[9]

In December 2008, Dynegy CEO Bruce Williamson announced that the company was reevaluating its role in developing new power plants, including White Pine. Williamson cited the tightening credit markets and difficulty in permitted new coal plants as reasons for reconsidering its involvement in the siting, permitting, financing and construction of several new projects. Other plants include the Longleaf plant in Georgia, LS Power Elk Run Energy Station in Iowa, Midland Power Plant in Michigan, Plum Point Energy Station in Arkansas, Sandy Creek Plant in Texas, and the West Deptford Project in New Jersey. As an alternative, the company will look at adding generation to its existing sites in the Northeast, Midwest and Western U.S.[10]

On March 10, 2009 the Nevada Public Utility Commission was scheduled to hold the last public hearing on the proposed White Pine Energy Station permit.[11]

Five days before the hearing, LS Power notified state regulators that it was withdrawing its application to build the plant. The company cited economic conditions and regulatory uncertainties. Instead, LS Power will focus on completing a planned 500-mile transmission line project to provide new access to renewable energy resources across Nevada.[12][13]

Project Details

Sponsor: LS Power Development and Dynegy
Location: White Pine County, NV
Capacity: 1600 MW
Type: Pulverized coal
Projected in service: TBD
Status: On hold

Financing

Citizen Groups

Resources

References

  1. “Don’t Rush to Add Coal Plant, EPA Warns", Las Vegas Sun, August 9, 2007.
  2. "Construction of White Pine Energy Station near Ely postponed" Jennifer Robison, Las Vegas Review, April 12, 2009.
  3. "Official: Plants' risks not told", Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 18, 2007.
  4. “Nevada Denies Plea to Delay New Coal Power Plants", Reuters, September 10, 2007.
  5. "State Republicans Back White Pine Power Plants", The Ely Times, October 24, 2007.
  6. “Environmentalists Allowed to Review Nevada Power Plant Agreements", Las Vegas Sun, November 3, 2007.
  7. “Reid’s Coal Battle On Hold", Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 18, 2007.
  8. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed October 2008.
  9. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed January 2009.
  10. "Dynegy to rethink new coal-fired power projects," Reuters, December 11, 2008.
  11. "Second coal-fired plant still planned near Ely", Adela Harding, Elko Daily Free Press, February 28, 2009.
  12. "Plans for 2 coal-fired power plants on hold in Nev," Associated Press, March 5, 2009.
  13. Stephanie Taveres, "Another Nevada Coal Plant Project Bites the Dust",Las Vegas In Business, March 13, 2009.

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