- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule that would combat emissions coming from Nebraska’s largest power plant, which it says contributes to hazy conditions at national parks in surrounding states.

The Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/2iJx4hV) reports the agency’s rule proposed Wednesday would require the Nebraska Public Power District to cut back emissions coming from its 1,365-megawatt Gerald Gentleman Station west of North Platte. The EPA said the reduction of sulfur dioxide emissions are needed for progress to be made in reaching Congress’ natural visibility goal.

Within a five-year window the plant would have to be outfitted with “scrubbers,” a system of chambers and sprays that spurt chemical mixtures into exhaust fumes. The mixture creates a chemical reaction with a byproduct of the fumes, reducing the amount of sulfur dioxide released into the environment.

National Parks Conservation Association spokeswoman Stephanie Kodish said the EPA’s proposal to clean up Nebraska’s haze pollution is a welcome step.

Nebraska Public Power District spokesman Mark Becker said the plant has already been working to reduce gas emissions and is “in compliance with existing regulations that are already in place.” Becker said the utility has installed other equipment to reduce emissions of particulate matter as well as greenhouse gases.

The installation of sulfur dioxide scrubbers could cost the utility tens of millions of dollars.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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