Nucor's Louisiana Iron Plants Still Waiting On Final EPA Approval
Nucor’s iron plants in Louisiana have become the first facilities in the nation to get permits for their greenhouse gas emissions, but now local environmentalist groups are second guessing whether the state-issued permits will hold up to Obama administration’s new climate rules, according to Solve Climate News.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) officials say that the ambiguity with the emission rates is due to the lack of data on greenhouse gasses. Although, the LDEQ issued greenhouse gas permits on January 31to Nucor for two plants in St. James Parish, the regional EPA office found problems with the permits and has not formally approved or rejected them. Now, concerned groups like the Sierra Club and Louisiana Environmental Action Network, say they may intervene by drafting an appeal.
May 3rd is the deadline for the last day the regional EPA can be petitioned over the Nucor permits. Local community groups are worried that the 9 million tons of annual CO2 emissions will severely worsen the environment and cause health problems.
The new EPA climate rules require big carbon emitters, like power plants, refineries and large industrial facilities, to get Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V Operating permits to curb emissions at new and modified facilities through cost-effective Best Available Control Technology, or BACT. These new rules are only for facilities with greenhouse gas emissions of over 75,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year.
Although the EPA gives state agencies help and can enforce compliance, the actual permitting decisions are the states’ responsibility.