Governor Mark Gordon announced today that an agreement has been reached with PacifiCorp and the State of Wyoming to keep Unit 2 of the Jim Bridger power plant operational beyond April 30, 2022. The agreement provides that Wyoming will agree to PacifiCorp’s planned conversion of Jim Bridger Units 1 and 2 to gas. This conversion may take up to two years, and it was important to Wyoming that both units continued to operate until that conversion.
Currently, Unit 2 is operating under a suspension order issued by Governor Gordon on December 31, 2021, which allows continued operation through April 30, 2022. Today’s agreement is the product of many hours of negotiations, technical reviews and compromise.
PacifiCorp has agreed to issue a Request For Proposal (RFP) for carbon capture facilities to be added to Jim Bridger Units 3 and/or 4. While not a part of this agreement, PacifiCorp has also agreed to issue a similar RFP for Unit 4 of the Dave Johnston Power Plant, near Douglas.
The agreement was memorialized in a consent decree between Wyoming and PacifiCorp that was approved by the District Court earlier this week. This consent decree ensures PacifiCorp’s compliance with the Regional Haze requirements, and that the parties will work to amend the company’s permits and the state’s implementation plan to reflect the conversion to natural gas. Governor Gordon said he is confident this agreement represents a sound path forward, and he remains hopeful that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will agree.
“I am cautiously optimistic that this arrangement will actually stick, unlike the earlier agreement in which EPA reversed course,” Governor Gordon said. “There are still procedural steps to take and the public will have opportunities to comment in the future.”
“I thank Gary Hoogeveen, President and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power and his staff for hunkering down and hammering out an agreement that meets the Regional Haze requirements and opens the door to having a carbon capture unit on a coal fired plant,” the Governor continued. “This is a win-win for Wyoming workers, the environment and the technological advancement for carbon capture.
I also thank EPA Administrator Michael Regan for engaging in constructive dialogue on this important issue during our meeting last month. Finally, I recognize the tireless efforts of our office of the Attorney General and the Department of Environmental Quality to keep looking for a solution.”
The consent decree was submitted to EPA today as part of the Department of Environmental Quality’s comments regarding EPA’s proposed disapproval of the revised State Implementation Plan. Also included with the comments were the results of the investigation of the Wyoming Public Service Commission concerning the effects of the potential shut down of Unit 2. All can be found here.