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GASP Comments on Proposed Beech Hollow Natural Gas Plant

GASP recently submitted comments to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding the new Beech Hollow natural gas-fired power plant in Robinson Township, Washington County. Although the proposed facility will incorporate a great deal of the latest advances in efficiency and air pollution control technology, GASP is concerned with one pollutant in particular: the facility’s emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

For many years, Allegheny County’s residents have struggled with the adverse health effects of elevated levels of PM2.5 in the ambient air. DEP has a program for permitting new sources of air pollution that ensures areas with better air quality see no significant impact and areas that struggle with air quality issues see little or no impact at all.

GASP believes DEP incorrectly considered impacts on Washington County and failed to address prevailing winds that will blow a significant portion of Beech Hollow’s emissions into Allegheny County. In fact, the Beech Hollow facility will be located less than one mile from the Allegheny County line. Our position is that Beech Hollow’s PM2.5 emissions will undoubtedly have an adverse impact on Allegheny County’s ambient air, and this should have triggered much stricter PM2.5 control measures than DEP initially required.

GASP will update you once DEP has responded to our comments.

–Ned Mulcahy, Staff Attorney

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