EPA threatens to sue RPU - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

EPA threatens to sue RPU

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The Environmental Protection Agency is poking its nose in on the workings of Rochester Public Utilities' Silver Lake power plant.

Anti-pollution control is behind the investigation.

The EPA has threatened to bring a law suit against Rochester, if city leaders don't come to an agreement on anti-pollution control.

Tuesday evening the city attorney, along with members of the RPU Board met to discuss how they should move forward with this matter.

It's a city landmark, a prominent part of the backdrop and now RPU's Silver Lake power plant is also a hot topic for the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA is cracking down on municipally owned utility companies all across the nation to ensure their anti-pollution devices are up to date, and Rochester is no exception.

"The EPA has filed a request for information on all of the boilers asking how old they are, what kind of fuel do they use, what sorts of anti-pollution devices do they have and most importantly what sorts of changes or modifications have you made to these boilers over the past few years?", said Terry Adkins, Rochester City Attorney.

There are four boilers at the coal fired plant. Anti-pollution updates were made to one of the boilers a few years ago, but the other three haven't been touched.

"Either we're going to have to respond, or face litigation, or we're going to have to negotiate a settlement with the EPA," said Adkins.

The City Attorney said the EPA expects plants to install the best and newest anti-pollution devices when updates are made, but it would have been incredibly expensive to make those upgrades.

"What does this mean for RPU customers in terms of upgrades we would be required to make to appease the EPA and what would that cost," exclaimed Adkins.

Adkins says that in years past, the EPA was requesting information on privately owned power plants and have just now started reviewing anti-pollution policies at city municipalities. Adkins also stressed that this will not be a quick fix and is unsure how it will all work out.

The NewsCenter's calls to the EPA were not returned.

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