Thursday September 2, 2004
Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced that Cinergy/PSI is planning to make up to $500 million in environmental upgrades over the next two years at two of its area facilities that will significantly reduce emissions and improve the region's air quality.
The improvements are part of an overall company environmental compliance plan to improve air quality in Cinergy's three-state region.
As a result of the changes, Abramson said that Louisville Metro Government is dropping its efforts to intervene in a federal lawsuit against Cinergy over emissions at its Gallagher facility in New Albany, Ind. Abramson announced plans in May to petition a federal judge to join the federal lawsuit along with three other states.
"This represents an important step in improving air quality in this community and throughout our region," Abramson said.
“Today’s agreement will improve our region’s air quality and further protect public health,” said Art Williams, director of the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District. “Cinergy’s improvements will move Louisville toward becoming a cleaner and greener city.”
Following conversations with Abramson over the last several months, Cinergy officials today announced plans to install new equipment - known as baghouse controls - at its Gallagher plant in New Albany, Ind. Cinergy officials say the controls will be up to 70 percent more efficient in reducing particulate emissions than the existing equipment.
The changes at Gallagher, which will cost up to $100 million, are projected to result in a 40 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions, a reduction of about 22,000 tons a year, company officials said.
In addition, Cinergy/PSI is planning to install two additional scrubbers at the Gibson facility in Princeton, Ind., about 100 miles west of Louisville. Two of Gibson's five generating units already have scrubbers, and a third scrubber is under construction and expected to be completed by spring of 2006. The company expects to complete construction of the two additional scrubbers in 2007.
Cinergy/PSI has already installed four SCRs (selective catalytic reduction) units at Gibson to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. Construction is already underway on the fifth SCR and should be completed by the spring of 2005.
"The construction plan proposed at Gallagher and Gibson will improve the air quality in our entire metropolitan area, including Southern Indiana," Abramson said. "The changes at Gibson, in particular, will help decrease ozone levels in our community."
John Stowell, Cinergy's vice president for federal affairs, environmental strategy and sustainability, said that the controls at both facilities are part of a comprehensive, approximately $2 billion environmental construction program being undertaken by the Cincinnati-based company. Stowell said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing regulations to reduce Nitrogen Oxide and Sulfur Dioxide emissions as well as controls on mercury emissions from coal-fired plants.
"When construction is completed, all five Gibson units will be fully controlled for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions and Gallagher will be the first plant on our system to install state-of-the-art equipment to reduce particulates. This will improve air quality for our customers as well as Louisville."
Abramson said today's announcement is another important step in his administration's ongoing efforts to improve air quality in the community and the region. In the next several days, Abramson said he will propose the framework for the community's first-ever air toxics program.
Earlier this year, following conversations with Abramson, companies at Rubbertown announced plans to significant reduce emissions at their facilities. And Abramson last year created a broad task force to make recommendations on how the community can meet the new, more stringent air quality standards that will be implemented at the federal level.
"Air quality is an important quality of life issue for our hometown - our physical health and our economic health," Abramson said. "We will continue to make strides to improve the community's air quality."