DEC Proposes New Regulations on Power Sector

Power sector regulations to analyze possible environmental impacts and limit CO2 emissions
Under draft regulations developed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation new or expanding electric generating facilities in New York would be required to evaluate the potential disproportionate impacts on nearby “environmental justice” communities, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced Wednesday. The proposed regulations are the first in the country to require an “environmental justice” analysis in the siting of major electric generating facilities. Environmental justice communities refer to human population who shoulder more than their share of environmental burdens, particularly impoverished communities whom industry and government tend to steamroll.
Additional regulations proposed by DEC will limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new major electric generating facilities and certain expansions at existing electric generating facilities. DEC developed the proposed regulations (6 NYCRR Part 487 and 6 NYCRR Part 251) as required by the Power NY Act of 2011, which Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law in August 2011.
Environmental Justice Regulations
The proposed regulations in Part 487 will establish a regulatory framework to analyze environmental justice issues associated with the siting or expansion of major electric generating facilities. During the siting of major electric generating facilities, the proposed regulations require applicants to evaluate the significant and adverse disproportionate environmental impacts, if any, which may result from the facility’s construction or operation.
The draft regulations require applicants to evaluate:
-the significant and adverse disproportionate environmental impacts of a proposed major electric generating facility, if any, resulting from its construction or operation;
-the cumulative impact on air quality; and
-the demographic, economic and physical description of the community where the facility will be located, compared and contrasted to the county and adjacent communities
Carbon Dioxide Emission Regulations
The proposed regulations in Part 251 would establish CO2 emission limits for proposed new major electric generating facilities that have a generating capacity of at least 25 megawatts, and for increases in capacity of at least 25 megawatts at existing electric generating facilities.
The proposed carbon dioxide emission regulations will:
-set a CO2 emission limit of 925 lbs/mw-hr (output-based limit) or 120lbs/mmBtu (input-based limit) for most new or expanded base load fossil fuel-fired plants;
-set a CO2 emission limit of 1450 lbs/mw-hr (output-based limit) or 160 lbs/mmBtu (input-based limit) for simple cycle combustion turbines;
-allow each facility’s owner or operator to choose whether to comply with the relevant output-based or input-based emission limits;
-provide for DEC to set case-specific CO2 emission limits for certain power plants that fire non-fossil fuels
-require recordkeeping, monitoring and reporting consistent with existing state and federal regulations.
The DEC is accepting public comment on the proposed regulations and has three scheduled public hearings in March, the closest to Rockland being in New York City.