A year or so ago, Plains Justice, Sierra Club and Dakota Rural Action were keeping an eye on plans to build a large new coal plant out in the middle of the South Dakota prairie at Selby (pop. 736), to burn subbituminous coal from nearby Wyoming coalfields. Selby has a trifecta and then some of ideal coal plant siting attributes: proximity to a large water source (the Missouri River), a rail line, minimal local and county land use restrictions, and a small local population unlikely to put up a fight. The proposal was postponed during 2009 but no notice of its fate had surfaced until a recent Federal Register announcement of cancellation.
The developer, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, has notified the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) of suspension of activity on the Selby plan. Another South Dakota utility, Black Hills Power, recently requested a large rate increase (28%) for its South Dakota customers to help pay for its investment in the WyGen III coal plant near Gillette, WY. In a contested docket earlier this year in which Plains Justice represented the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center and individual South Dakota ratepayers, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission awarded BHP less than half the requested increase and also ordered the utility to produce an energy efficiency plan the next time it applies to increase rates. As regulators become less willing to agree to huge rate increases to support new generating facilities, the profitability of throwing up yet another giant coal-fired power station looks shakier. The myth of cheap coal is on the ropes.
[Federal Register: December 22, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 245)] [Notices] [Page 80488]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov][DOCID:fr22de10-56]———————————————————————–DEPARTMENT OF ENERGYWestern Area Power AdministrationNotice of Cancellation of Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed NextGen Project Near Selby, Walworth County, SD (DOE/EIS-0401)AGENCY: Western Area Power Administration, DOE.ACTION: Cancellation of Environmental Impact Statement.———————————————————————–SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Western Area Power Administration (Western) is issuing this notice to advise the public that it is cancelling the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on an interconnection request by the Basin Electric Power Cooperative (BEPC). BEPC proposed to design, construct, operate, and maintain a 500- to 700-megawatt base load, coal-fired generation facility near Selby, Walworth County, South Dakota, and interconnect it with Western’s transmission system, thus triggering a NEPA review of Western’s action to allow the interconnection. BEPC has notified Western it is suspending further action on its proposed project.FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on the cancellation of this EIS process, contact Matt Marsh, Upper Great Plains Regional Office, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 35800, Billings, MT 59107-5800, e-mail MMarsh@wapa.gov, telephone (800) 358-3415. For general information on the DOE’s NEPA review process, contact Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC-54, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585-0119, telephone (202) 586-4600 or (800) 472-2756, facsimile (202) 586-7031.SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Western Area Power Administration (Western) is cancelling the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on an interconnection request by the Basin Electric Power Cooperative (BEPC). BEPC proposed to design, construct, operate, and maintain a 500- to 700-megawatt base load, coal-fired generation facility near Selby, Walworth County, South Dakota. BEPC’s proposed NextGen Project would have been entirely owned and operated by BEPC, and would have been constructed on private land. Western received a request for interconnection from BEPC, which triggered a NEPA process on Western’s proposed action to approve or deny BEPC’s request to interconnect their proposed project with Western’s transmission system. If the interconnection were to be approved, Western would have needed to construct and operate an interconnection facility at the point of interconnection. A Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement was published in the Federal Register on July 27, 2007 (72 FR 41307). Public scoping meetings were held subsequent to the Notice of intent, but a Draft EIS was not produced. BEPC has notified Western that it is suspending further action on its proposed project; accordingly Western is terminating the NEPA review process on its interconnection decision.
Dated: December 10, 2010.
Timothy J. Meeks,