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Dominion says EPA's water intake rule 'reasonable'

May 23rd, 2014 8:40 pm by Stephen Igo

Dominion says EPA's water intake rule 'reasonable'

RICHMOND — Dominion, parent company of Dominion Virginia Power, which operates a new electric generating station in Wise County, called a final rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding cooling water intake facilities "reasonable" on Tuesday.

The EPA's final rule for cooling water intake structures at existing facilities under section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act requires new technology and monitoring requirements on generating stations to reduce impacts on aquatic resources.

Dominion Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas F. Farrell II issued a statement Tuesday in which the utility consortium "thanks EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and her staff for their extensive and open dialogue with stakeholders and for including provisions that recognize the importance of ensuring electric reliability."

As a result, Farrell said, "Dominion believes the rule represents a reasonable approach to minimizing the impact on aquatic life while being mindful of the impacts to ratepayers."

Farrell said Dominion's initial review of the rule "finds that it includes significant improvements compared to the proposed rule. States retain authority to impose effective entrainment measures appropriate for site specific features of each facility. Also, EPA has provided needed business certainty by identifying a suite of technologies that can be selected to reduce impingement impacts."

The rule does not mandate the use of costly and energy intensive cooling towers at all facilities, Farrell said, "yet it will result in major capital investments in advanced technologies that are suitable for each facility. These choices in compliance options based on enhanced monitoring will ensure the selection of effective, yet prudent technologies."

Dominion Virginia Power brought online its $1.8 billion, 585-megawatt primarily coal fired power plant in Wise County in 2012. The Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, located across a ridge from downtown St. Paul, is touted as the most advanced facility of its kind in the United States, with an ability to consume coal, waste coal and biofuels with low environmental impacts compared to traditional, outdated coal fired power facilities.

Emissions standards applied to the Wise County power station are among the toughest in the country.

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