“Xcel Energy’s coal-fired Pawnee Generating Station near Fort Morgan is endangering local residents’ health by violating EPA sulfur dioxide emissions standards for hundreds of hours a year, a conservation coalition asking the state to sharply curtail plant air pollution permits said Friday.
The conservation groups claim the state Air Pollution Control Division, which issues emission permits with set caps to companies like Xcel, created a rolling monthly average for Pawnee’s SO2 limits that violates EPA standards and which the EPA never approved. This allows Pawnee to release short-term pollution well above safe limits, during high energy demand or when pollution filters are not working, while still meeting monthly averages, the groups say.
The state’s failure to model pollution properly or factor in actual past emissions data threatens “the health of the people of Colorado and violates the letter and the intent of the Clean Air Act” and other EPA rules, according to a letter to the state from the coalition. The group includes the Colorado Sierra Club, Green Latinos, WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.”