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TransGas Development Systems

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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.

In December 2008, TransGas Development Systems LLC announced plans to build a $4 billion coal-to-liquids plant in Mingo County, West Virginia. The Adams Fork Energy Plant will produce 756,000 gallons of gasoline from coal each day.

The plant will use an estimated 3 million tons of local coal per year to produce more than 6.5 million barrels of gasoline.[1]

TransGas Development Systems has said it scheduled a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Mingo County site for May 9, 2011, in Wharncliffe. TransGas has a state air quality permit and authority to issue bonds from the West Virginia Economic Development Authority.[2] In April 2011, the WV Economic Development Authority approved the issuance of $3 billion in bonds for the project. [3]

Background

On April 21, 2009, the Sierra Club submitted a comment letter to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection urging the rejection of TransGas's request to be permitted as a minor source of pollutants and thereby avoid using the best pollution controls possible.[4]

In October 2009, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection announced its preliminary decision to grant the plant's air permit. In November, the Division of Air Quality said it was extending the public comment period from November 30 to December 18, 2009.[5]

On December 18, 2009, the Sierra Club, Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Coal River Mountain Watch, and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy urged the WV Department of Environmental Protection to deny the permit or issue a revised draft for public review and comments, saying the facility will be a major source of air pollution, not a “minor source” as determined by the state, and that the permit failed to address the greenhouse gases that will be emitted by the plant, as well as the many monitoring and enforcement issues that will arise. West Virginia regulators issued a final, revised air permit for the TransGas coal-to-gasoline facility on February 26, 2010. On March 29, 2010, the Sierra Club filed an appeal of the air quality permit for the TransGas coal-to-liquids facility.[6]

On March 28, 2011, the West Virginia Air Quality Board remanded the air permit for the proposed TransGas coal-to-liquids facility to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Board sided with the environmental groups and ordered DEP to modify the air permit with respect to three environmental permit issues. The Board’s decision will push TransGas to obtain an updated permit. The Sierra Club said that while TransGas’s spokesperson has stated that the company intends to break ground in June 2011, there is still no indication that the plant has financing to begin construction.[6]

In May 2011, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection filed a Petition for Appeal with the Kanawha County Circuit Court, arguing that the Air Quality Board's final decision exceeded its statutory authority when it remanded the permit with instructions for the agency to make specific modifications. The petition said the Board is only empowered to affirm, modify, or vacate the permit, not send it back to the agency.[6]

Project Details

Sponsor: Transgas Development Systems
Location: Mingo County, WV
Size: 750,000 gallons per day
Type: Coal-to-liquids
Projected in service: 2013
Status: Early development

Citizen Groups

Resources

References

  1. "TransGas Development Systems to Build $3B CTL Plant in West Virginia," Free Republic, December 12, 2008.
  2. "Groundbreaking set for W.Va. coal-to-gas plant" AP, April 22, 2011.
  3. "Stopping the Coal Rush" Sierra Club, accessed November 2011.
  4. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed May 2009. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  5. "W.Va. seeks more comment on coal-to-gas plant," Associated Press, November 26, 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Stopping the Coal Rush" Sierra Club, accessed November 2011.

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