U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today said she was encouraged that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Justice have reached a settlement with Louisiana Generating, an electric generating company owned by NRG Energy, Inc. The company will now be able to continue operating its Big Cajun II coal-fired power plant in New Roads while working to eliminate over 27,300 tons of harmful emissions per year. Sen. Landrieu spoke with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on October 9 to urge a settlement.
"I am encouraged by today's settlement," Sen. Landrieu said. "This is great news for the 350 employees in the region and the thousands of Louisiana residents who rely on this plant for their power needs. I am proud that NRG will continue its operation in the community while working to reduce emissions and meet EPA quality standards."
To meet EPA's Mercury Air Toxics Standards (MATS) requirements, Louisiana Generating will convert one of the three units at the plant from coal to natural gas, eliminating virtually all mercury and particulate matter from the unit's emissions. Louisiana Generating will also install activated carbon injection on another unit and upgrade the electrostatic precipitators. MATS goes into effect in April of 2015.
The settlement, filed in federal court today in Baton Rouge, will require Louisiana Generating to spend approximately $250 million to reduce air pollution and also requires the company to pay a civil fine of $3.5 million and spend $10.5 million on environmental mitigation projects. This settlement will secure substantial reductions in harmful emissions from the plant which will have a beneficial impact on air quality for residents of Louisiana while keeping the plant open.