Coal Tattoo

WVDEP approves Mingo coal-to-gas plant

The Manchin administration today approved an air pollution permit for the Trans-Gas Development coal-to-liquids plant proposed for Mingo County, W.Va.

Officials from the WVDEP’s Division of Air Quality approved the permit and issued a Final Engineering Determination combined with a response to public comments.

As we’ve discussed on Coal Tattoo before, coal-to-liquids technology will generate twice the greenhouse gas emissions of standard gasoline, unless the production plants are equipped with carbon capture technology — which the Trans-Gas facility isn’t.

Sierra Club spokesman Bill Price issued the following statement about WVDEP’s approval of the TransGas permit:

Today’s announcement is disappointing. Moving forward with this huge new source of air pollution is simply a bad investment. This plant is not “clean” , would use a massive amount of precious water  and would continue to destroy mountains and communities.

It’s time for WV public officials to realize that the way for West Virginia to prosper in the future is to start moving away from coal, to diversify our economy and get in on the clean energy game. We can have jobs without jeopardizing our natural heritage or our futures.

In its response to comments, the WVDEP said there are no current federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions and that the state’s Air Pollution Control Act would allow the WVDEP to enact such limits in the absence of federal limits only if the agency concludes,  “there exists scientifically supportable evidence for such” limits based on “factors unique to West Virginia.”

The WVDEP said:

The DAQ believes that a Division-level regulatory program targeting GHGs in West Virginia would certainly violate the intent of the APCA. At the very least, no reasonable argument can be made that issues surrounding global climate change are unique to West Virginia. The APCA would not support a “statutory air pollution” conclusion with respect to GHG regulation even if the DAQ were prepared to make that determination.