Minnesota Power settles with EPA over emissions at coal-fired power plants

By KBJR News 1

July 16, 2014 Updated Jul 16, 2014 at 8:44 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- The settlement agreement covers Minnesota Power's Boswell, Laskin, Taconite Harbor and Rapids Energy Coal Plants.

As part of the agreement, Minnesota Power must limit emissions at these units.

In addition, Minnesota Power will spend $4.2 million dollars over the next five years in clean energy projects, including a 1 megawatt solar installation on the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Property.

The agreement includes the addition of 200 megawatts of wind energy.
Under the terms of the settlement, the company will also have to pay a 1 point 4 million dollar civil penalty.

This all stems from a Notice of Violation Minnesota Power received in 2008 from the E-P-A that they were not in compliance with the Clean Air Act at their Coal Fired Power Plants.

Minnesota Power, meanwhile, says the projects they undertook were routine maintenance, improving efficiencies of the units, or maintaining their ability to provide reliable power to their customers.

The company has been in talks with the EPA since 2008 trying to settle the matter, and has come a long way in reducing emissions.

"We took a number of steps to diversify our energy mix and really transform what was mainly- we were largely coal based to where at the end of this year we will be 25 percent renewable so within that timeframe we needed to take certain actions to make sure that we were providing reliable and affordable and sustainable energy for our customers," said Amy Rutledge, Manager of Corporate Communications for Minnesota Power.

Since 2006, the company has invested or will invest more than 600 million dollars to reduce emissions at it's plants.

In a separate agreement recently announced involving standards at its Island Lake Reservoir, Minnesota Power has agreed to make 53 thousand dollars in repairs at Jay Cooke State Park.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com