Basin Electric submits comments regarding Wyoming plan for regional haze

Basin Electric submitted written comments for the Wyoming Department of Environmental QualityAir Quality Division’s Regional Haze Round 2 State Implementation Plan (SIP) hearing held on March 23 in Cheyenne.

The Regional Haze Rule, published in 1999, requires states to develop and implement air quality protection plans to improve visibility in national parks and wilderness areas (Class I Areas).

The Regional Haze regulations are to be implemented in a series of planning periods with the goal of achieving natural visibility conditions at designated Class I areas by 2064. The first planning period ended in 2018. The second planning period goes through 2028

Erin Dukart, Basin Electric director of environmental services, said that in order to comply with the requirements of Round 1, Basin Electric installed environmental controls at Laramie River Station, a three unit coal-based generation station located near Wheatland, Wyoming.

“For Round 1, Basin Electric installed selective catalytic reduction on Unit 1, and selective non-catalytic reduction on Units 2 and 3. We also installed overfire air and low NOx burners. These controls have resulted in substantial reduction of NOx emissions,” Dukart said. “Under Wyoming’s original SIP for Round 1, we believe Wyoming appropriately developed a long-term strategy and reasonable progress goals, and Laramie River Station continues to be fully compliant with the rule.”

The comment period regarding Wyoming’s SIP for the second implementation period of the Regional Haze Rule was open from Feb. 18 through Mar. 23. The Department of Environmental Quality determined that no further emission reduction measures are necessary at Laramie River Station to comply with Round 2.

Dukart said Basin Electric’s comments also addressed cost and implications for cooperative members. “As an electric cooperative, any costs for emission controls are passed through to our members. We are cognizant of the fact that unnecessary additional controls, particularly controls with no impact to visibility, would negatively impact members,” she said.

States were required to submit their SIPs by Jul. 31, 2021, but more than 30 states did not meet that deadline, including Wyoming.