EPA OKs New Coal-fired Project in NE Utah

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VERNAL, Utah (AP) -- Environmentalists are surprised after federal regulators approved a new coal-fired power plant without restricting carbon-dioxide emissions.

The Bonanza electricity plant on Ute tribal land in Uintah County last week got approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to expand.

Watchdog groups monitored the permit process to see if EPA would restrict emissions that are tied to climate change. "The EPA is snubbing all of the efforts -- not only in Utah but all the other efforts -- to get a handle on greenhouse gases," said Tim Wagner of the Utah chapter of the Sierra Club.

While the state typically handles air permits, the Bonanza plant came under federal jurisdiction because it is on tribal land.

Deseret Power Electric Cooperative serves 45,000 customers and sells surplus electricity to cities, power marketers and wholesalers in six states.

In documents, the EPA says it needs more time to make regulations on carbon dioxide and it has no business regulating a global pollutant in what is basically a local pollution permit, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday.

The EPA says any action on carbon dioxide should come through a public rule-making process "based on best available science." "We were waiting to see what they would do and how they would explain what they are doing," said Cheryl Heying, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality.

Utah recently joined five states and British Columbia in pledging to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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