Status of the Proposed LTV/Sun Coke Plant

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Hotline, Fall 1998

As of the end of October, this is the status of the Sun Coal/LTV application for a permit for the proposed non-recovery coke works to be located on the LTV site in Hazelwood. First, one clarification might be in order. This application is for an INSTALLATION permit. If one is granted, and the company chooses to build on the site, there will have to be an OPERATING permit issued. This will be a so-called Title V permit, and the public will have additional chance for comment or other legal action directed at “improving” the operations of a plant already allowed.

Here’s where the installation permit stands. Several months ago LTV submitted a permit application which was deemed inadequate on several counts. For example, much technical detail on control equipment was missing. LTV was formally informed by ACHD of th e inadequacy of its initial submittal, and subsequently LTV submitted a revised permit application. Many of the details were filled in, but that is not the end of the story.

The installation is essentially being considered by the regulators to be a “new source.” This means PSD (Prevention of Significant Deterioration of air quality) comes into play. This could be a length process, but the present understanding is that extensive modeling may not be required because LTV can apply credits for the closed facility. If a demonstration can be made that the emissions won’t be worse, then PSD can be met. It is possible this can be done without modeling, and the ACHD may not require extensive modeling.

But the “new source” designation has additional implications. BACT (Best Available Control Technology) and LAER (Lowest Achievable Emission Rate) come into play. Just what control equipment meets BACT or LAER (the more stringent) must be determined: the company will or has offered its opinion, and the ACHD will determine its position. There is an additional subtlety: BACT will be required for pollutants PM (particulate matter) and CO (carbon monoxide), but the more stringent LAER will kick in for VOCs (volatile organic compounds), NOx (nitrogen oxides, which are precursors of ground level ozone) and most importantly SO2 (sulfur dioxide). The permit application indicates that the company will use very clean coal, and they need the credits badly. Apparently there is some disagreement as to the extent of the credits for the old operation. The initial LTV application probably overestimated the credits. There is the possibility that our location, as far as acid rain is concerned, may require the company to purchase additional credits. Finally, there is reported to be some concern at the EPA about impact on PM2.5 levels, even though all aspects of the new rules on such fine particulates are not in force.

This is a complicated matter, which probably explains why the ACHD has not yet informed LTV about what will be required of them in order to receive an installation permit. But that is likely to come and then all parties will have to assess their options. There will be a public comment period and a public hearing after any installation permit is issued.

by David Jasnow, GASP Vice-President