Reprinted below (and attached) is an alert regarding Senate Bill 257:
SB 257: Power Plant Siting Bill Improves And Advances To The House: Five (5) Changes Needed To Make It An Excellent Bill
SB 257, introduced by Senate Committee Chair Ernie Harris, represents an improvement on the House-passed HB 540 in several key areas, as previously profiled. The Senate passed the bill today (March 18) with a number of floor amendments that continue to make further incremental improvements in the bill. Positive Senate floor amendments adopted today include:
* An emergency clause;
* A provision requiring prior Public Service Commission approval of any transfer of assets by a regulated utility of over $1 million;
* Clarification that both merchant and regulated utility plants will be subject to a cumulative environmental impact assessment;
* Tightening the definition of "commence to construct" to require actual physical construction, not merely site clearing or excavation, in order to be exempt from the siting review;
* Eliminates the Kentucky Pioneer plant exemption, that would have allowed that coal and garbage-burning plant to be exempt from siting review;
Sen. Ernie Harris deserves a note of thanks for his work to date on this bill, and Sen. Ed Worley and Sen. Ernesto Scorsone deserve thanks as well for their floor amendments to, respectively, eliminate the Kentucky Pioneer exemption and to assure PSC review of transfers of assets.
What remains to be done by the House in order to make this a truly comprehensive bill that is adequate to protect Kentucky?
1. Eliminate the loophole in Section 4(4) that allows a merchant plant to expand without siting review. Instead, allow changes at facilities that have been previously reviewed for siting and cumulative environmental impacts without new siting review only if they "net-out" emissions by making reductions elsewhere in the plant so there is no overall increase in pollution.
2. Apply siting review to regulated utility units as well as merchant units, but allow that review to occur in the existing review process for regulated units.
3. Expand the siting board review of "transcos," independent non-regulated transmission lines, by providing a 180-day review period and allowing the Board to demand changes in design and configuration of transmission lines in addition to routes.
4. Replace the terms "good cause" for waiving setbacks, and "good" environmental compliance history, with more precise standards.
5. Impose a monthly cap on minor sources of NOx, and require that any facility seeking to emit more than the monthly cap install Best Available Control Technology for NOx and do dispersion modeling to assure that the facility emissions will not interfere with attainment of healthy air quality in any downwind community. This seeks to prevent gas peaking plants from accepting "minor source" limits of 95 tons per year, and then emitting all 95 tons in the peak summer months when ozone is a concern, and to impose BACT controls on those facilities.
Please call and leave a message for Senator Harris asking that these changes be made to Senate Bill 257 as the bill is considered by the House. Thank him for his excellent work to date.
Also, please contact Representatives Greg Stumbo, Larry Clark, Joe Barrows and Jody Richards by fax to 1-502-564-6543 and by message, 1-800-372-7181, and ask them to assure that these five needed changes are made to this important bill. Ask that the bill be assigned to a committee where it will be assured of prompt hearing and where these important strengthening amendments can be made