Revised air permit approved for Wise coal plant

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The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has approved an amended air quality permit for Dominion Virginia Power’s coal-fired plant currently under construction in Wise County.

A circuit court judge last month ruled that a clause regarding mercury emissions violated the federal Clean Air Act. Four environmental groups had challenged two air permits awarded to the plant on seven legal points. Richmond Circuit Judge Margaret Spencer agreed with only one regarding an “escape hatch.”

The permit included a clause indicating the mercury emission limits could be changed if Dominion had trouble meeting the emission limits after a year of operation. The DEQ removed the clause, which Dominion supported.

“The Virginia DEQ’s efficient handling of our request allows Dominion to maintain its schedule with a power station project that is vital to meeting the future energy needs of Virginia and to helping the economic well-being of the southwest Virginia,” David A. Christian, CEO of Dominion Generation, said in a statement.

Construction of the $1.8 billion Virginia City Energy Hybrid Project is more than a third complete, according to Dominion. It is scheduled to open in mid-2012.

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