Coal plant proposal of the day: Cash Creek

Another proposed coal gasification plant is under scrutiny. The Cash Creek IGCC plant is the subject of a public hearing later this week. If it receives reasonable public scrutiny, if the emissions information is public, how could it receive anything but a loud DENIAL of the permit? It’s happened in Minnesota and Delaware, IGCC plants have been found to be not what the proposers spin would indicate. Georgia turned down an IGCC plant recently too. It’s time for another to go down…



Friday, June 29, 2007 @ 6:30 p.m.

Henderson County Courthouse

20 North Main Street

Henderson, KY

Phone: (270) 826-3971


Here’s the Draft Air Permit, thanks to Valley Watch:

Cash Creek Draft Air Permit


So I called the Kentycky Air Permit Division, and because Jim Morse, the contact listed on the Cash Creek page (502-573-3382) was on the phone, and so was transferred around several times trying to get information on the deadline for written comments and the process for submission.   Finally I got someone who said that yes, Comments could be submitted by mail and email, and to go to the Notice page, which he directed me to.  OK, fine, so the Notice says Comments may be submitted for 30 days after the publication of the Notice, by mail they must be postmarked by that date.  What’s the date of the Notice?  MAY 20, 2007!!!!

Cash Creek Notice – May 20 2007

 The Comment period ended June 19 or 20, 2007, depending on how you count.  So I called back, got Jim Morse (502-573-3382) and asked about that, and he didn’t regard that as a problem.  “So what would you like me to do about that?”  I said that the Comment period should be extended to provide for submission of Comments some time after the public hearing.  He offered some lame nonsense about being bound by regulations, and I said that I doubt the regulations expressly limit extension of that deadline.  “And who am I talking to?”  I told him and told him of our experience with Mesaba and that I’m working on getting the air emissions information out to the world, to other jurisdictions where IGCC plants are being considered, because the MPCA analysis and the MN record demonstrated that IGCC is NOT what it’s cracked up to be.  He said I should take it up with the Director of the Division, who has already denied two requests for extensions!  Yup, this is how it goes in Kentucky.  He said I should find someone who will be there to submit comments.  OK, fine, I will…


 Check out this article, and register your comments — registration at the site is a bit of a pain, but it’s worth it to weigh in on this project:

Cash Creek Impact: New EPA rule raises concern

By Mark Wilson (Contact)
Monday, June 25, 2007

With the region facing the challenge of soon having to meet tougher air pollution regulations, environmentalists and local officials are concerned about the impact the proposed Cash Creek power plant in Henderson County, Ky., could have on air quality in the Evansville area.

They’re expected to raise those concerns at a public hearing on the Cash Creek air pollution permit at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Henderson County Courthouse.

The area learned last week that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing tighter standards on ozone pollution which many counties, including Vanderburgh and Warrick, may have difficulty meeting when they take effect in 2008. In addition, both counties already do not meet federal standards for fine particulate pollution.

“On behalf of the City of Evansville, I would like to reiterate my concerns about the negative impacts a new power plant would have on our region’s air quality,” wrote Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel in a three-page letter to the Kentucky Division of Air Quality on June 18.

Warrick County Commissioners and Newburgh also have filed letters of concern about the power plant’s possible impact on air quality.

A representative of the Erora Group, the Louisville, Ky.-based company developing the Henderson County power plant, said Friday the facility’s use of “clean coal” technology will cause it to have little impact on local air quality. Building and operating the power plant, they say, will be a boon to the economy.

Despite those assurances, Weinzapfel has asked Kentucky environmental officials to take extra steps to require strict pollution controls and reduction strategies.

The latter includes conducting pollution monitoring both before and after building pollution sources and conducting modeling that would examine the impact of plants such as Cash Creek on air quality in Vanderburgh and Warrick counties.

The plant would be located on Kentucky 1078 near the Green River and next to Patriot Coal Co., which is expected to provide most of the Western Kentucky coal that developers are pledging to use for fueling the plant.

The estimated building cost, $1.5 billion, will create more than 1,000 construction jobs. The plant would employ an estimated 200 people when in operation.

“We are always looking for jobs,” said Paul Kuerzi, board chairman for the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce. “Yes, we are concerned about the environment, but our take is this appears to be as clean a project as you could have in this particular industry. The technology they will be using is quite advanced.”

Cash Creek would use a still-fledgling process called IGCC (integrated gasification combined cycle) that would convert coal into a synthetic gas of mostly hydrogen and carbon monoxide that would then be burned to power turbines and create electricity. The plant is expected to produce 630 megawatts of power for sale.

“We believe it will be the cleanest plant, certainly in Kentucky, if not in the country,” said David Schwartz, an Erora Group spokesman.

Although Cash Creek would have pollution controls for both particulate pollution and ozone-causing nitrogen oxide pollution, according to its proposed permit, it would still have the potential to generate more than 700 tons a year of nitrogen oxide pollution and other pollutants.

“Clean technologies not withstanding, Cash Creek would emit hundreds of tons of air pollution each year and may negatively impact our air quality,” Weinzapfel wrote.

John Blair, president of Evansville-based environmental group Valley Watch, said he will argue at Friday’s hearing that Kentucky officials should treat the plant as if it were going to be located in an area of non-attainment for air quality standards.

“This plant should be built with offsets (equivalent reductions in pollution) as if it were in a non-attainment area,” he said.

“This plant will have an impact on Vanderburgh and Warrick counties, particularity Warrick.”

One Response to “Cash Creek IGCC under scrutiny”

  1. Wendy Bredhold Says:

    There is information about the Cash Creek hearing and links on my blog.

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