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Sierra Club v. Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20112
Nos. No. 2011 WY 42, (Wyo., 03/09/2011)

The Wyoming Supreme Court upheld a state-issued air quality permit authorizing a power plant's construction of a proposed coal-to-liquid facility and an associated underground coal mine. The court rejected an environmental group's claims that the permit fails to consider significant sulfur dioxide emissions from flares in determining the potential to emit. The state agency's decision to exclude emissions from malfunctions and cold starts from the facility's potential to emit was not contrary to applicable Wyoming statutes and regulations. Nor could the group demonstrate that the agency's decision was inconsistent with federal authority or EPA guidance. The court also rejected claims that the permit fails to apply the best available control technology to limit the flare emissions. The agency's decision to impose the plant's startup/shutdown emission minimization plan as a substitute for numerical emissions limitations was reasonable due to the infeasibility of measuring emissions from the flares. Nor did the agency err in using measurements, models, and controls of coarse particles as a surrogate to determine that the facility also complied with requirements relating to fine particulates. And the agency wasn't required to model the short-term impacts of fugitive emissions.