November 8, 2023
Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy
P.O. Box 98922
Lincoln, NE 68509-8922
Re: Conservation Groups’ Comments on the State of Nebraska’s Proposed Regional Haze State Implementation Plan for the Second Implementation Period
Dear Ms. Wharton,
The National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club, and the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks (together, “Conservation Groups”) submit the following and attached comments on the Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy’s (“NDEE”) proposed state implementation plan for the regional haze second implementation period (hereafter “Draft SIP”). We also submit the reports of D. Howard Gebhart (“Gebhart Report”) and Victoria R. Stamper (“2023 Stamper Report”), which are attached and incorporated by reference into these comments.1D. Howard Gebhart, Technical Review of Visibility Modeling Supporting the Second Round of Regional Haze State Implementation Plans: State of Nebraska (Nov. 8, 2023); Victoria R. Stamper, Review and Comments on Reasonable Progress Controls for the Nebraska Regional Haze Plan for the Second Implementation Period (Nov. 8, 2023).
As discussed in these comments and in the attached expert reports, the Conservation Groups have serious concerns about Nebraska’s Draft State Implementation Plan (“SIP”). To satisfy the Clean Air Act (the “Act” or “CAA”) and Regional Haze Rule (“RHR”), NDEE must correct the flaws identified in these comments and in the attached technical reports before submittal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), including:
• Meaningfully considering and advancing environmental justice;
• Conducting four-factor analyses and requiring cost-effective pollution controls and enforceable SIP emission limits for the short list of sources identified by Conservation Groups and the NPS; and
• Requiring cost-effective pollution controls at the state’s two largest sources of visibility-impairing pollution, Gerald Gentleman Station (“GGS”) and Nebraska City Station (“NCS”). As detailed below and in the 2023 Stamper Report, many cost-effective controls exist to reduce pollution at these sources, including wet flue gas desulfurization (“FGD”) to limit sulfur dioxide (“SO2”) at levels better than 0.01 lb/mmBTU, and selective catalytic reduction (“SCR”) to limit oxides of nitrogen (“NOx”) at 0.04 lb/MMBtu or better.
The Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze Program presents a significant opportunity for Nebraska to not only improve visibility at nearby Class I areas, but also to improve air quality in communities across the state. Despite the legal requirements necessary to ensure reasonable progress, NDEE’S Draft SIP contains fundamental flaws and arbitrarily fails to meaningfully evaluate or require cost-effective emission reductions for sources that contribute to visibility impairment in Class I areas across the region. As such, Nebraska’s Draft SIP is unlawful and cannot be approved. NDEE must revise its plan to address the legal requirements of the Act and federal regulations, as discussed below and in the attached expert reports.
Click here to read the Compiled Attachments PDF.
- 1D. Howard Gebhart, Technical Review of Visibility Modeling Supporting the Second Round of Regional Haze State Implementation Plans: State of Nebraska (Nov. 8, 2023); Victoria R. Stamper, Review and Comments on Reasonable Progress Controls for the Nebraska Regional Haze Plan for the Second Implementation Period (Nov. 8, 2023).