PORTLAND -- The EPA has notified Portland General Electric that its Boardman coal-fired plant has been out of compliance with federal pollution rules since 1997 -- but Oregon state officials say that's not so.
Failure to comply could result in fines of $25,000 per day for violation that predate 1997, and up to $37,500 per day for violations since then.
The Environmental Protection Agency said lack of civil compliance could also result in criminal enforcement actions being initiated by the U.S. Attorney General for the utility violating the Clean Air Act.
"It did pretty come out of the blue we hadn’t any notification it was coming,” PGE Spokesperson Steve Corson said. "We don’t believe there were violations. This is not something we somehow did in secret... we worked with our regulators... they knew what we were doing."
The Oregon DEQ agreed.
"We haven't taken any enforcement on the company... we haven't issued a notice and we didn't see any violation of a requirement,” spokesman Andrew Ginsburg said.
The eight-page order from the EPA contends that attempts to curtail pollution at the plant in Eastern Oregon actually increased pollution.
PGE has denied the company is out of compliance with EPA rules. It continues a permitting and review process that keeps the plant running until 2020.
“This notice of violation is yet another chapter in a three-decade saga of PGE’s attempts to avoid taking responsibility for Boardman’s pollution,” said Cesia Kearns of the Oregon chapter of the Sierra Club.
"They should have installed pollution control equipment more than a decade ago and if they had done so that would have reduced emission by tens of thousands of tons every year,” John Keenan of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said.
Cesia Kearns, Sierra Club said “We were very pleased to see that the EPA is backing what we’ve been saying for a long time that Boardman is a dirty and dangerous plant.”