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Groce v. Department of Envtl. Protection

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20085
Nos. No. 2355 C.D. 2006, (Pa. Commw. Ct., 04/11/2007)

A Pennsylvania court upheld a state environmental agency's decision to issue an air quality permit authorizing the construction of a waste coal-fired power plant capable of generating approximately 525 megawatts of electricity. The nitrogen oxide emission limit for the plant met the lowest achievable emission rate established by federal and state law, and the agency properly determined that the plant would not cause or contribute to an increment violation of sulfur dioxide in Class I areas—areas deemed worthy of special environmental protections under the Clean Air Act. The agency also provided adequate public notice of the degree of increment consumption in Class I areas. In addition, the environmental hearing board, which upheld the permit, did not err in concluding that certain mitigation measures contained in the plan approval mitigated the plant's adverse impacts on visibility in Class I areas. Nor did the board err in admitting the testimony of a computer modeling expert regarding visibility impacts or in concluding that certain comment letters on the plan approval were inadmissible hearsay.