In 2010, the TransAlta power plant agreed to reduce mercury and nitrogen oxide emissions. The agreement required TransAlta to burn low sulfur coal to protect and improve visibility in national parks and wilderness areas. In 2011, the governor signed a bill requiring TransAlta to change to cleaner fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the end of 2020, TransAlta stopped using one of two coal-fired boilers. They will stop using the second one by the end of 2025. In the meantime, they will use nitrogen oxide-reducing technology on the remaining boiler. This was a significant step to reduce regional haze.
In 2010, we revised the Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (SIP) to identify key sources of air pollution and define a strategy to improve visibility in Washington's Class 1 areas. Modernizing emission technology at large industrial sources, and using existing federal and state controls are important steps to make "reasonable progress" toward natural conditions in Class 1 areas.
We plan to submit to EPA the next plan — for the period 2018-2028 — in December 2021.
We discussed some of the revised chapters of the Regional Haze State Implementation Plan for 2018-2028 and supporting documents with industries and federal land managers affected by the regional haze regulations.
- Summer 2020 – Chose air pollution sources to analyze potential pollution controls
- Late summer 2020 – Evaluated air pollution sources using four-factor analysis to determine reasonable controls
- September – November 2020 – Consulted with federal land managers
- December 3, 2020 – Held public information session. Review the presentation.
- January 2021 – Held industry-focused meetings
- May – June 2021 – Consulted with federal land managers
- October – November 2021 – Hold public comment period and public hearing
- December 2021 – Finalize plan and submit to EPA