DEP AND CONECTIV AGREE ON PLAN TO REDUCE AIR POLLUTION IN
Conectiv Commits to Compliance Schedule and Community Benefit Project
(02/35) Trenton, NJ--- The New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) has reached an enforcement
settlement with Atlantic City Electric Company and Conectiv
Atlantic Generation, Inc. (Conectiv), requiring the company
to reduce smog-forming pollution at six of its generating
stations located in southern New Jersey. The settlement
also requires Conectiv to pay $2 million in penalties to
the state, $1 million of which may be used to fund an urban
re-forestation project in the affected airshed. The company
estimates the cost to install, test, maintain and monitor
new pollution controls required by the agreement will reach
Conectiv is currently violating its regulatory
limits for nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions, which contribute
to the formation of ground-level ozone or smog. Smog can
trigger serious health problems and restrict the amount
of time people with asthma and other respiratory sensitivities
can spend outdoors.
"Our bottom line goal with this settlement
is to improve air quality in New Jersey by having Conectiv
lower NOx emissions at these six facilities and come into
compliance with state-wide standards," said DEP
Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Today's agreement
also sets a precedent for enforcement settlements in New
Jersey that recognize the impact of dirty air on forest
health and natural resources and provides extra benefits
for communities. Conectiv has agreed to a $1 million tree-planting
project that will not only help improve air quality but
also improve the quality of life in urban neighborhoods."
To comply with its NOx emission limits,
the company has agreed to install water injection equipment
technology on the jet turbine engines. To ensure the pollution
reductions are achieved, Conectiv will install the new equipment
and monitor emission levels in three phases. In the first
phase, the company will install and begin testing the water
injection technology at one facility by May 1, 2003. If
air-monitoring results show the new controls are effective,
Conectiv must have the control equipment operating at two
more facilities by May 1, 2004. The third phase requires
that the company be in full compliance with NOx requirements
at each of the six facilities by May 1, 2005. In the event
this specific control technology does not adequately reduce
NOx pollution levels, Conectiv must propose another control
option that can attain the same or greater emission reductions.
Based on Conectiv operating data for 2000,
DEP estimates that NOx emissions at these six facilities
will be reduced by approximately 250 tons per year once
water injection technology is installed at all six facilities.
If the facilities operate at the maximum allowable number
of hours, DEP estimates an approximate reduction of up to
840 tons of NOx per year.
In May 1995, DEP established air quality
regulations requiring companies to install reasonably available
control technology (RACT) in order to comply with mandated
emission controls in the federal Clean Air Act. Claiming
that control technologies needed for its facilities were
not "reasonably" available, Conectiv attempted
to comply with NOx limits by seeking alternate emission
limits and purchasing emission credits to "cover"
excess emissions. Through the state's Open Market Emissions
Trading (OMET) program, companies that reduce NOx emissions
beyond their allowable levels can sell those extra pollution
reductions as credits in an open market. Conectiv purchased
such credits beginning in 1998; however, the company failed
to purchase the required number of credits and misused the
credits it did buy.
The state requires companies that rely
on emission credits during the high ozone season - the warmer
months of the year - to purchase and use credits that are
based on pollution reductions achieved during the same period.
DEP recently determined that some of the emission reduction
credits used by Conectiv during ozone seasons were not generated
during an ozone season. As a result, DEP alleged that Conectiv
was in violation of its emission limits.
Conectiv also initiated discussions with
DEP regarding its belief that there was a current shortage
of emission credits on the open market, highlighting the
probability that the company would not meet its ongoing
and future permit limits. To address past NOx emission violations
and to allow the six facilities to continue operating this
summer, DEP, working with the Department of Law and Public
Safety's Division of Law, and Conectiv have agreed to this
settlement, the terms of which are outlined in Administrative
Consent Order effective today.
Campbell added: "This case
highlights the need to re-evaluate New Jersey's failed emission
trading program. We need to ensure that communities are
not short changed on the air quality benefits the program
is supposed to achieve and that responsible companies are
not misled about their obligations under the law."
The re-forestation part of the settlement
is an innovative enforcement mechanism known as a "supplemental
environmental project," that is used to benefit local
communities and, in this case, improve air quality. The
Administrative Consent Order requires that the re-forestation
project occur in urban areas in the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Trenton
airshed, an area which currently has ozone levels above
federal ambient air quality standards. Trees can absorb
and reduce levels of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and some particulate
matter. In some cases, trees have been shown to reduce up
to 15 percent of ozone, 14 percent for sulfur dioxide, 13
percent for particulate matter and 8 percent for nitrogen
dioxide in their midst.
Further, Conectiv is required to take whatever
additional actions are necessary at these units in order
to comply with all federal, state, and local permits, rules
and regulations. Conectiv must submit quarterly progress
reports to the department with the first report due July
30, 2002. Each report will explain the status of Conectiv's
compliance with this settlement.
Conectiv's six power generating facilities
included in the settlement signed today are: Carlls Corner
Generating Station in Upper Deerfield Township, Cumberland
County; Middle Generating Station in Rio Grande Township,
Cape May County; Missouri Generating Station in Atlantic
City, Atlantic County; Cedar Generating Station in Manahawkin
Township, Ocean County; Mickleton Generating Station in
Greenwich Township, Gloucester County; and Deepwater Generating
Station in Pennsville Township, Salem County. The jet engine
turbines at these six facilities primarily operate during
the summer when electrical demand is at a seasonal peak.
In 2000, actual hours of operation for these units ranged
from 131 hours to 653 hours - the equivalent of five to
27 days out of the year.
If Conectiv cannot meet its pollution
limits, the company will have to terminate operations at
the affected facilities.