North Dakota Department of Health seeks comment on amendment
Now is the time for the public to comment on a proposal which could reduce haze over Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Lostwood Wilderness Area.
The North Dakota Department of Health is seeking comments this week on an amendment that would reduce emissions that cause regional haze or visibility impairment.
The Department of Health is looking to change its regional haze plan that is required by the Environmental Protection Agency. The amendment addresses requirements for the Coyote Station and includes new information for the M.R. Young Station.
"Each state is required to develop, submit and implement a regional haze program," said Terry O'Clair, DOH Division of Air Quality director. "Once the EPA approves the plan facilities have five years to install it."
He said the plan calls for reducing emissions at some of the older plants -- Coyote wasn't one of the applicable plants, but the DOH talked to them about it and they agreed to do something about the emissions, too.
"The plan originally called for changes at the Coyote Station to be made by 2019," O'Clair said. "But the EPA asked if the date could be moved sooner so we changed it to 2018."
O'Clair said because the Coyote Station was built later and because they offered to install some nitrogen oxides reduction technology they have a little more time.
"The Coyote Station will have no problem making the changes needed to lower the production of nitrogen oxides we agreed to," said Coyote Plant Manager Jan Rudolf. "And we don't foresee any trouble in meeting the deadline."
O'Clair said the plan also called for the M.R. Young Station to install controls for both sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.
The DOH suggested they install SNCR or a selective non-catalytic reactor to reduce emissions but the EPA wanted them to install a different type of emission reduction technology called SCR (selective catalytic reactor). However the DOH feels the SCR won't work on lignite.
"We don't feel it's right to require them to do something we don't believe in so we would like them to use SNCR," O'Clair.
O'Clair said meeting these new emission standards will be a great thing for North Dakota.
"The amount of sulfur dioxide will be reduced by 60 percent or 106,000 tons per year and nitrogen oxides by 58,000 tons a year," O'Clair said. "Those emissions are equivalent to what we saw in the 1970s before a lot of these newer plants were built."
Eileen Andres, TRNP chief of interpretation and public affairs, said the park has a
Class 1 air shed under the clean air act and added the TRNP welcomes any local efforts to maintain the highest air quality in both the TRNP and the wilderness area.
The comment deadline is March 12.
Written comments can be sent to the North Dakota Department of Health Division of Air Quality 918 E. Divide Ave, 2nd floor, Bismarck ND 58501-1947.
A hearing will be held only if there is a request from the public. The deadline for the hearing request is also March 12.
If a hearing is requested it will be held March 16 at 9 a.m. CDT in the Cold Seal Center's fourth floor conference room at 918 E. Divide Ave. in Bismarck and the comment period deadline will be extended to March 26.
Questions can be directed to The North Dakota Department of Health Air Quality division at 701-328-5188.