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TVA to Pay $450,000 Civil Penalty for Clean Air Act Violations at the Widows Creek Fossil Plant in Stevenson, Ala.

Release Date: 03/15/2011
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

(ATLANTA - Mar. 15, 2011) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has entered into a consent agreement and final order with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) that resolves EPA's allegations that TVA has violated the Clean Air Act at the Widows Creek Power Plant in Stevenson, Ala. TVA has fully cooperated with EPA throughout the enforcement proceedings and has agreed to pay a $450,000 civil penalty to resolve the violations.

As part of the settlement, TVA voluntarily agreed to retired 931 sulfur dioxide (SO2) allowances and 13 nitrogen oxide (NOx) allowances under EPA’s NOx cap and trade and Acid Rain cap and trade programs. This will result in the elimination of 931 tons of SO2 and 13 tons of NOx emissions to the atmosphere that would otherwise be permissible.

The alleged violations resulted from ongoing and pervasive duct leaks from Unit 7 at the Widows Creek Plant that were not adequately repaired and that allowed SO2 and NOx to escape into the atmosphere from 2002 through 2005. The alleged violations include:

    Failure to Maintain Pollution Control Devices as Required by Permit;
    Failure to Comply with Acid Rain Requirements, 40 C.F.R. Part 75; and
    Failure to Report Non-Compliance with the Acid Rain Program as part of the required Title V Annual Certifications in 2004-2005.

High concentrations of SO2 and NOx, two key pollutants emitted from coal fired utility units, can have adverse impacts on human health, and are significant contributors to acid rain, smog, and haze.

The Acid Rain Program was established under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and requires significant emission reductions of SO2 and NOx from the electric power industry. The Acid Rain program sets a permanent cap on the total amount of SO2 that may be emitted by electric generating units in the United States, and includes provisions for trading and banking emission allowances. The program is phased in, with last year phasing in the final 2010 SO2 cap set at 8.95 million tons, a level of about one-half of the emissions from the power sector in 1980.

More information on the Acid Rain Program report:
http://www.epa.gov/airmarkets/progress/ARP09.html