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In re City of Palmdale (Palmdale Hybrid Power Project)

09/19/2012

Case Number:PSD Appeal No. 11-07
ELR Citation:42 ELR 41363

Mr. Rob Simpson petitioned the Environmental Appeals Board ("Board") to review a prevention of significant deterioration ("PSD") permit that Region 9 ("Region") of the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") issued to the City of Palmdale ("City") pursuant to the Clean Air Act ("CAA''). The Final Permit authorizes the City to construct and operate the Palmdale Hybrid Power Project ("PHPP") in Palmdale, California. PHPP is a proposed 570 megawatt ("MW") baseload hybrid, natural gas-solar plant that is designed to generate up to 50 MW of its total electric power using a solar array.

Mr. Simpson's appeal presents several overarching issues for resolution. The first issue Mr. Simpson raises is whether the Region clearly erred or abused its discretion in declining to extend or reopen the public comment period. The second issue is whether the Region clearly erred or abused its discretion in determining the best available control technology ("BACT") for emissions of greenhouse gases ("GHGs"). In particular, Mr. Simpson asserts that the Region failed to identity algae ponds as an available control technology in step l of its BACT analysis; failed to properly rank the control technologies in step 3 of its BACT analysis; should have considered alternative solar power configurations in its analysis ofthe solar power component beyond the 50 MW proposed by the City; and improperly dismissed one control technology, carbon capture and storage ("CCS"), as economically infeasible in step 4 ofthe BACT analysis. Finally, the third issue Mr. Simpson raises is whether the Region abused its discretion by failing to conduct an independent analysis of the need for the facility under CAA section l65(a)(2).

Held: The Board denies review of the Final Permit. Mr. Simpson has not demonstrated that review is warranted on any of the grounds presented.