RENOVO — This week, Clean Air Council, PennFuture and the Center for Biological Diversity appealed an extension of Renovo Energy Center’s air pollution permit for a large gas-fired power plant.
The extension by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) allows the power plant developer an additional 18 months to build the North-Central Pennsylvania power plant. DEP originally permitted the gas-fired plant in April 2021,
The three groups filing the appeal believe REC has failed to secure financing to move forward, according to a release.
This extension comes amid an ongoing appeal by the same groups, challenging the power plant’s air permit, which DEP extended in October.
In August, the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board ruled in favor of the groups in that appeal, finding that DEP set pollution limits too high for two harmful pollutants. That legal challenge continues toward trial on other claims.
“Still, rather than allow the illegal permit to lapse, DEP sent Renovo Energy Center a letter granting the requested extension. DEP did nothing to alter or fix the illegal permit,” the groups allege in a press release. “In their Notice of Appeal, the environmental groups object that the extension is illegal because the permit it extends is illegal and the requirements for an extension were not met.”
According to the release, the permit would authorize the plan “to emit hundreds of tons of noxious pollutants annually and more greenhouse gases than the City of Pittsburgh.”
The groups believe the plant could impose a “cost of billions of dollars in impacts to health and communities over the course of a lifetime.”
The power plant is being developed by Bechtel Corporation, a Virginia-based multinational engineering corporation.
“Extending a permit that judges just found to be illegal is a slap in the face to residents of Clinton County and to the rule of law,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council, on behalf of all three environmental groups filing this appeal. “Why in the world would DEP break the law just to ensure that a giant fossil fuel power plant can dirty the community’s air? Renewable energy is cleaner, cheaper, and more abundant.”
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