Environmental groups, PSEG Power Connecticut announce agreement on legislative proposal to cut mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants

NEWARK, N.J., March 20, 2003 — Clean Water Action, the Connecticut Coalition for Clean Air, the Clean Air Task Force and PSEG Power Connecticut have issued a joint recommendation to the Connecticut General Assembly for legislation establishing stringent new mercury emission standards for the state’s coal-fired power plants. The legislation would set a national precedent for controlling power plant mercury emissions.

PSEG Power Connecticut is the owner of the 375-MW Bridgeport Harbor coal-fired power plant in Bridgeport, Conn.

The legislative proposal was presented March 12 during a Connecticut General Assembly Environment Committee public hearing on power plant mercury emissions. The joint proposal would require coal-fired power plants in Connecticut to achieve either an emissions standard of 0.6 (six-tenths) lbs. of mercury per trillion Btu (0.6 lb/tBtu) or a 90% efficiency in technology installed to control mercury emissions.

The new requirements would become effective in July, 2008. The new standard would result in up to a 92% mercury emission rate reduction at Bridgeport Harbor station. If enacted, the legislation would be the first of its kind in the U.S. Implementing the proposed Connecticut standard nationwide would result in an 85% reduction in mercury emissions.

Brooke Suter, Connecticut director of Clean Water Action (CWA) and a lead coordinator of the Connecticut Coalition for Clean Air, said, “This good-faith effort between the Connecticut Coalition for Clean Air and PSEG Power has yielded a great day for children’s health. Mercury is a highly toxic substance, and this precedent-setting proposal to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants is a good interim step toward the necessary goal of virtual elimination of mercury.” Suter concluded,

“The mercury legislation proposal builds upon six years of citizen work to clean up the ‘Sooty Six’ power plants that achieved significant nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide reductions. We commend PSEG Power Connecticut for engaging in a thoughtful, collaborative process that will also achieve real mercury reductions.”

Martha Keating, Clean Air Task Force air toxics scientist, said the proposed mercury standard “is the first in the nation to set stringent mercury emissions limits within a tight timeframe.”

Keating, who served for 10 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and authored the EPA’s landmark 1997 report to Congress on mercury, added, “the example set here today by the Connecticut Legislature, the state’s environmental community, and PSEG Power Connecticut sends a clear message to other states, the federal government, and the energy industry that reducing mercury emissions is necessary and achievable.”

Thomas R. Smith, executive vice president – operations and development for PSEG Power, parent company of PSEG Power Connecticut, said “When we announced acquisition of the Bridgeport Harbor and New Haven Harbor power plants, we stated our intention was to own and operate these facilities over the long term and in a manner that supports the economic and environmental goals of Connecticut residents. This agreement is in keeping with this commitment. The tone, tenor, and certainly the results of our work with Clean Water Action, the Connecticut Coalition for Clean Air, and the Clean Air Task Force set an excellent example for public policy debates elsewhere in New England, the Northeast, and across the nation. We will continue to make the case that the goal of supplying the nation with safe, secure, reliable, and affordable energy while improving environmental performance is feasible and achievable.”

In addition to establishing the new mercury emission limits in 2008, the legislation also directs the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection in 2012 to review all stationary sources of mercury emissions in the state and consider new emissions standards based on available technology, the cost of achieving additional reductions, and public health and environmental benefits associated with further reductions from each source reviewed.

PSEG Power acquired Wisconsin Energy Corporation’s Wisvest-Connecticut subsidiary and the Bridgeport Harbor and New Haven Harbor power stations in December, 2002. In addition to the 375-MW coal unit, Bridgeport Harbor station also includes a 175-MW oil-fired unit and a 19-MW combustion turbine. New Haven Harbor station consists of one unit, a 466-MW facility fueled with low-sulfur oil.

Clean Water Action (www.cleanwateraction.org/ct) is a national citizens’ organization working for clean, safe and affordable water, prevention of health-threatening pollution, creation of environmentally safe jobs and businesses, and empowerment of people to make democracy work. CWA has 10,000 Connecticut members and 700,000 members nationwide. CWA is a leading coordinator of the Connecticut Coalition for Clean Air, which includes over 130 organizations representing over half-a-million Connecticut residents.

The Clean Air Task Force (www.catf.us) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring clean air and healthy environments through scientific research, public education, and legal advocacy.

PSEG Power, a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG), is one the nation’s largest independent power producers with approximately 13,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity. PSEG (PEG/NYSE) is diversified energy holding company with $25 billion in assets and $6.7 billion in revenues. Its other primary subsidiaries are Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), New Jersey’s oldest and largest energy distribution utility company, and PSEG Energy Holdings, a holding company for other unregulated businesses. PSEG Power and PSEG have their headquarters in Newark, NJ. More information about PSEG is available at the company’s website, (www.pseg.com).

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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