Energies, EPA Announce Agreement to Further Improve Air
MILWAUKEE -- We Energies, the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice today
announced a historic $600 million agreement that will
improve air quality by lowering emissions in southeast
Wisconsin and across the entire We Energies generation
"This is the latest in a series of steps our company
has taken to improve air quality," said Kristine
Krause, Wisconsin Energy vice president - environmental.
"Last September, we signed an agreement with the
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that cut emissions
across our system by 50 percent over a ten-year period.
This agreement will take those actions even further."
We Energies approached the EPA in January 2003 to discuss
issues surrounding maintenance activities at We Energies'
generating units and goals for achieving emission reductions.
The company maintains that it has been, and remains in
compliance with the Clean Air Act. However, ambiguity
in the regulations has made it challenging to plan routine
maintenance at power plants. The agreement will eliminate
"Our power plants operate under strict environmental
standards, rules and regulations. We believe it is important
to resolve these issues by investing our resources in
environmental improvement rather than protracted litigation,"
Reductions will be achieved by installing best available
control technologies on the company's largest coal-fueled
generating units. These actions include:
-- Installation of selective catalytic reduction units
to remove at least
93 percent of the sulfur dioxide emissions at the Pleasant
Oak Creek Power Plants.
-- Installation of equipment to reduce nitrogen oxide
at the Pleasant
Prairie and Oak Creek Power Plants to levels achieved
In lieu of installing controls, the agreement will allow
the company to retire some units. This option is being
considered for Presque Isle Units one through four and
Oak Creek Units five and six.
As a result of the agreement, system-wide sulfur dioxide
emissions at the company's coal-fueled units in Wisconsin
and Michigan will be reduced by approximately 68 percent
below 2000 levels and total nitrogen oxide emissions will
be reduced by approximately 65 percent.
Mercury emissions, as a result of this agreement and
We Energies' commitments under the Multi Emission Cooperative
Agreement (MECA) with the Wisconsin Department of Natural
Resources, will be reduced by approximately 55 percent
below 2000 levels. The agreement includes the addition
of a baghouse on Presque Isle Units seven through nine
designed to remove mercury emissions. This is part of
a research project is being done in partnership with the
Department of Energy, and is intended to advance the understanding
of how to effectively reduce mercury emissions from power
plants burning low sulfur coals.
We Energies will also pay a $3.2 million civil forfeiture
and retire sulfur dioxide allowances created when the
emission reductions take place. It is anticipated that,
starting in 2008, more than 160,000 tons of sulfur dioxide
allowances will be retired over a twelve year period.
The majority of the sulfur dioxide (98 percent) and nitrogen
oxide (85 percent) emissions reductions will occur in
southeast Wisconsin. These significant reductions will
facilitate the state of Wisconsin achieving attainment
with the new eight-hour ozone and fine particulate standards.
Michigan also benefits from these reductions due to the
nature of regional air transport. The reduction should
help the western counties in Michigan along Lake Michigan
achieve the eight-hour ozone standard.
The expenditures as a result of the agreement are consistent
with the dollars identified under the company's MECA agreement
and Power the Future plan.