The California Energy Commission (CEC) and U.S. Department of Energy have released their preliminary assessment for the proposed Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) coal plant highlighting significant unresolved issues. The report comes on the heels of a Sierra Club investigation that found major problems with the local Air District’s proposed air permit for the project.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Rennett Stowe
The Sierra Club investigation uncovered illegal emission reductions credits that the Massachusetts-based SCS Energy purchased for the project to supposedly offset emissions. The proposed air permit failed to demonstrate HECA’s compliance with the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act, the state Clean Air Act, and the District regulations. Offset doubts linger, including whether new emissions from the plant can be mitigated by emission reduction actions that took place several decades ago. Some of the credits are more than 30 years old, and, if used, would not make any ‘new improvements’ to current air quality.
Various environmental groups have urged the CEC to consider public comments in regard to concerns surrounding HECA project, including water supply, waste, environmental justice impacts, and carbon capture and sequestration technology.
“We call on the Energy Commission to consider public comments, disregard the 30-year old offsets and to complete its own independent analysis of the dangerous air pollution that this project would add to the already overburdened valley,” said Bradley Angel, executive director of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice.
The release of the Energy Commission report raises the stakes for the future of the proposed coal plant, and begins a 45-day comment period, which will include a public hearing in Kern County before the comment period ends. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated the Kern County as an extreme ‘non-attainment’ area for ozone, the primary driver of smog.
- see the report
Hydrogen Energy California facing significant issues