The Grand Portage Reservation is at the northeastern tip of Minnesota. The Air Quality Program has many ongoing projects in order to maintain healthy indoor and outdoor air. These projects include monitoring for regional haze and particulate matter, indoor air quality, invasive plant removal, public outreach, environmental education, alternative energy, and climate change.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

EPA Files Objection To Coal Plant Air Permit

In a move that shows the that the new Obama administration wants to put the "EP" back in the EPA the agency has filed an objection to the Air Permit issued by South Dakota for the Big Stone II Coal fired power plant on Minnesota's western border. The state has 90 days to make changes to the air permit and the project still needs to have an environmental impact statement approved, so this is not the end for the proposed 580 megawatt plant, but even if it is eventually approved it will have more stringent air pollution controls than if the EPA had not stepped in.

Critics charge the plant will increase NOx and SO2 pollution which contribute to acid rain, increase mercury levels in the region, and add an unacceptable amount of CO2 to the atmosphere. If the price of carbon increases as part of a plan to fight climate change then the price of power from coal will skyrocket, leaving the electric customers footing the bill.

It would be better to think long term and invest in renewable energy sources and in improving the electric grid overall to make renewable sources more economical.

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