CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Today Governor Mark Gordon signed a Temporary Emergency Suspension Order that allows Unit 2 of the Jim Bridger Power Plant to continue operating for at least 4 months and avert a New Year’s Day shut down of the unit.
More than eighteen months ago, Wyoming submitted a revised State Implementation Plan (SIP) to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would have allowed Unit 2 of the power plant to continue to operate and still meet the regional haze guidelines. The revised SIP was originally approved by the EPA in 2020, but earlier this year, Michael Regan, Administrator of the EPA for the Biden Administration, reversed course and refused to honor the prior approval. Consequently, a costly and outdated SIP remains in effect. That SIP requires the addition of expensive selective catalytic reduction equipment to be installed on Unit 2 by December 31, 2021. At this date, it is impossible to add such equipment.
The Clean Air Act gives the Governor authority to issue this temporary suspension order to keep Unit 2 operating and prevent job losses that would occur at the plant and the mine, according to a study conducted by University of Wyoming Professor Tim Considine.
“I cannot let DC’s failure put Wyoming folks out of work and lead to a loss of energy availability for Wyoming consumers from a coal fired unit.” Gordon continued, “We had a deal. PacifiCorp, EPA and Wyoming all agreed in 2020 that the regional haze guidelines would not only be met, but exceeded with the revised SIP. Now, with that deal unilaterally abandoned by EPA, this emergency order is necessary to protect Wyoming workers from EPA’s recklessness.”
The temporary extension could be disapproved by Administrator Regan, but Wyoming believes the suspension meets all the legal requirements of the Clean Air Act and should be allowed to remain in effect.