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April 7, 2010 > Citizens Against Pollution files appeal

Citizens Against Pollution files appeal

Submitted By Audrey LePell

Hayward-based, grassroots organization Citizens Against Pollution (CAP) has served the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), a branch of the Washington DC-based Environmental Protection Agency, with an appeal in the case of the granting of a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit to the Calpine Corporation, owner of the proposed Russell City Energy Center (RCEC). Calpine is a national company with a branch headquarters in Dublin, California. PSD refers to prevention of significant deterioration of the air quality.

The proposed construction of the RCEC has been a controversial subject since it was first publicly announced in 2001-02. If allowed to be built, the 600 megawatt power plant will be constructed on an 18-acre site slightly north of the Hayward Sewage Plant, between Depot Road and Enterprise Avenue in west Hayward, adjacent to the Hayward Shoreline.

Citizens Against Pollution claims through its lawyers that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) should be remanded of its recent decision to approve the PSD which it granted to the Calpine Corporation on February 4, 2010.

The rationale includes the following:

The communities located around the proposed power plant have a high percentage of minority populations. As reported by the Alameda County Health Department, many serious illnesses and respiratory problems exist in those populations. RCEC will emit over two million metric tons of CO2, or carbon dioxide, particulate matter or soot, toxic air containments and nitrous oxides. It should be noted that the Bay Area itself is out of attainment of clean air as defined by the EPA.

CAP argues the operating scenario is not credible because the proposed power plant's start-ups and shut-downs are not numbered as to per day or per week. Nor is there a defined recognition as to the type of start-ups allowed. Inadequate information was given in the PSD for the public to properly respond. As with any power plant using natural gas, start-ups and shut-downs need to be defined as energy generating emissions or pollutants with each release. In effect, RCEC will be a peaker plant.

Best Available Control Technology (BACT), which the RCEC was requested to install, was to limit emissions strictly but was found to be less than stringent. CAP asks for a requirement that an auxiliary boiler be obtained to reduce carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. RCEC rejected this request because of Calpine's previous expenditure for equipment almost eight years ago. BAAQMD labeled this a "business practice" while CAP says that new equipment should replace the retrofits. The facilities in Vineyard, Utah, and Brookhaven, New York, are cited as examples of up-to-date power plants.

CAP asks that the Board of Appeals "should remand for an analysis that benefits the Clean Air Act."

CAP acknowledges the time and efforts of its many supporters, friends and organizations that have objected to and expressed concerns in writing and in person in not supporting the RCEC in its present application. It is hoped the Board of Appeals will issue a remand to the BAAQMD based on CAP's arguments and the others that have been filed.

For more information, write to CAP, PO Box 55340, Hayward, CA 94544 or e-mail CAP president Audrey LePell at Kansgirl16@aol.com.

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