Environmental groups, PSEG Power Connecticut hail enactment of mercury reduction law

NEWARK, N.J., July 2, 2003 — Leading environmental organizations — Clean Water Action, the Connecticut Coalition for Clean Air, and the Clean Air Task Force — and PSEG Power Connecticut, owner of the 375-MW Bridgeport Harbor coal-fired power plant, on Wednesday congratulated the Connecticut General Assembly and Gov. John Rowland for taking final action recently on legislation establishing stringent new mercury emissions for the state’s coal-fired power plants.

The legislation (Public Act 03-72) incorporates a joint recommendation of the environmental organizations and PSEG Power Connecticut presented to the General Assembly as well as input by the state Department of Environmental Protection and the General Assembly’s Environment and Energy and Technology committees.

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Christopher L. Caruso (D-126), Mary M. Mushinsky (D-85), Robert W. Megna (D-97), Roberta Willis (D-64), and Diana S. Urban (R-43), received unanimous approval in both the House of Representatives and the State Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Rowland last month. The legislation is the first in the nation to regulate mercury emissions from power plants.

The legislation requires 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. It’s anticipated the new standard, which is effective in July, 2008, will result in up to a 92% reduction in the mercury emissions rate at the Bridgeport Harbor station. Applying the Connecticut standard nationally could achieve up to an 86% reduction in emissions from coal-fired power plants.

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 Connecticut has yielded a great day for children’s health. Mercury is a highly toxic substance and this precedent-setting law to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants is a good interim step toward the necessary goal of virtual elimination of mercury. The mercury legislation,” Suter concluded, “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 stringent mercury emissions limits and timelines set out in this legislation set an extremely important precedent. PSEG Power Connecticut has stepped forward to demonstrate that mercury reductions are technically and economically achievable. The U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and other states should demand no less of other power companies.” Keating served for 10 years at EPA and authored the agency’s landmark 1997 report on mercury.

Neil Brown, manager of external affairs for PSEG Power, parent company of PSEG Power Connecticut, praised the strong bipartisan effort among the bill’s sponsors, the co-chairs and ranking members of the General Assembly’s Environment Committee (Sen. Donald E. Willams, D-29; Rep. Patricia W. Widlitz, D-98; Sen. John McKinney, R-28; and Rep. Clark J. Chapin, R-67), the Energy and Technology Committee (Sen. Melodie Peters, D-20, Rep. Terry Backer, D-121; Sen. Thomas J. Herlihy, R-8, and Rep. Kevin DelGobbo, R-70), legislative leadership, Connecticut DEP, and the Governor’s office that resulted in the landmark legislation. “Enactment of this legislation demonstrates the ability of industry, government, and environmental advocates to work cooperatively on matters of important public policy. The State of Connecticut’s leadership is especially important as Congress continues its debate on national power plant emissions legislation and EPA works to develop mercury emissions standards.”

In addition to establishing the new mercury emissions limits in 2008, the legislation also calls for the Connecticut DEP, in 2012, to consider stricter emissions limits.

The legislation was co-sponsored by Reps. James F. Spallone (D-36), Widlitz, Gary Orefice (D-37), Emil Altobello (D-82), Andrea L. Stillman (D-38), Elizabeth A. Boukus (D-22), Jeffrey J. Berger, (D-73), John E. Stripp (R-136), Kenneth Bernhard, (D-136) Antonietta Boucher (D-143), Steven Mikutel (D-45), and Arthur O’Neill (D-69) and State Sens. Win Smith (R-14), John A. Kissel (R-7), Herlihy, and McKinney.

Clean Water Action (www.cleanwateraction.org) 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 a half-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 of the nation’s largest independent power producers with more than 13,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in operation and approximately 4,000 MW under construction. PSEG (PEG/NYSE) is a diversified energy holding company with $26 billion in assets and $8.4 billion in annual revenues (2002).

Its other primary subsidiaries are Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), New Jersey’s oldest and largest energy distribution company, and PSEG Energy Holdings, a holding company for other unregulated businesses. PSEG, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, has its headquarters in Newark, NJ. More information about PSEG and PSEG Power is available at the corporate web site, (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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