FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Closing Down Boardman the Best Way Possible
OEC’s statement about its recent action on the coal power plant
This past week, OEC joined other public-interest organizations to take a few steps forward to break the stalemate between PGE and DEQ. As a group, we made an agreement with PGE that will ensure an early closure of its Boardman coal plant.
Recently, OEC joined other public-interest organizations to take a few steps forward to break the stalemate between PGE and DEQ. As a group, we made an agreement with PGE that will ensure an early closure of its Boardman coal plant—the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the state. We did this because PGE agreed (1) to eliminate the existing option to operate the plant until 2040 from consideration by DEQ and (2) committed to a process to deliver a low-carbon, clean energy plan to replace Boardman’s coal power.
The issue of what power will replace Boardman’s coal is critical: if we rely too heavily on natural gas (the default option), it won’t help us achieve our carbon-reduction goals in the state. Over-reliance on another fossil fuel also leaves ratepayers exposed to higher carbon costs in the future. The letters between the endorsing organizations and PGE explain that the company will agree to close the plant no later than December 31, 2020. The letter does not mean that that OEC endorses PGE’s “BART III” plan.
OEC’s position is that we want to see Boardman close within a reasonable timeframe while ensuring that its replacement power will be based on energy efficiency, renewable resources and a very strategic use of natural gas so that Oregon can meet its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goals. We are asking DEQ to develop a revised set of options for closing Boardman between 2018 and 2020 which will meet the Clean Air Act standards and give DEQ the flexibility it needs to ensure PGE can meet these requirements. We believe the longer the plant operates, the more stringent the limits on air pollution should be. In other words, if the coal plant operates until 2020, then DEQ should require more pollution reductions.
In an Oregonian editorial last weekend, Sierra Club, which has a lawsuit against PGE for Clean Air Act violations, indicated that they are open to a 2018 closure, as well. We believe they and all other environmental and public health stakeholders involved with the Boardman issue, should be a part of any final solution with PGE. We are looking to DEQ to open up the public-hearings record and invite new comment from stakeholders to help the Environmental Quality Commission identify that sweet spot for closing Oregon’s only coal plant.