Carty Comment Period Wraps

PGE’s proposal shows that fracked gas power plants can be tremendously polluting.


Over 1,100 Oregonians Urge DEQ to Reject Pollution Increase at Carty Gas Plant

May 1, 2018 (Boardman, OR)—A coalition of public interest groups submitted more than 1,100 comments opposing a request by Portland General Electric (PGE) to increase smog-forming air pollution from its Carty Generating Station by more than eight-fold. The comments demonstrate Oregonians’ significant and growing concerns about the pollution impacts of fracked gas power plants.

“PGE’s proposal shows that fracked gas power plants can be tremendously polluting,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director with Columbia Riverkeeper. “Under PGE’s proposal, this gas plant would emit more than twice the amount of smog-forming volatile organic compounds as the soon-to-be-retired coal plant at Boardman. That’s unacceptable.”

In technical comments submitted yesterday (April 30, 2018) on behalf of twelve organizations, the Earthrise Law Center urged the Department of Environmental (DEQ) to ensure that PGE reduces the plant’s air pollution with proper technology.

“Before issuing a permit, DEQ must consider a wider range of pollution reduction options for the Carty Plant, including the use of on-site energy storage, to ensure that PGE deploys the best available control technology as the Clean Air Act requires,” said Jamie Saul, Clinical Professor and Staff Attorney with Lewis & Clark Law School’s Earthrise Law Center.

The groups also took issue with PGE’s failure to analyze how the proposed pollution increases would affect air quality in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, which already experiences haze and other air quality problems.

“DEQ is required by law to protect and enhance air quality in the National Scenic Area, and the public has a right to know just how much these massive air pollution increases would harm Gorge air quality,” said Nathan Baker, Senior Staff Attorney for Friends of the Columbia Gorge. “PGE is violating state law by submitting an application that fails to even mention—let alone analyze—how its proposal affects air quality in the National Scenic Area.”

“Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by the Carty gas power plant in Boardman contribute to ground-level ozone (smog), a powerful lung irritant that increases risks of premature death, heart attacks, strokes, and congestive heart failure and worsens asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” said Dr. Theodora Tsongas of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Carbon monoxide, also emitted by the Carty gas power plant, has many of these effects and more. Oregon DEQ has an opportunity to reduce harm to Oregonians by denying increased emissions of VOCs and carbon monoxide at PGE’s gas plant.”

DEQ is expected to make a decision on PGE’s requested pollution increases in the coming months. In the meantime, DEQ may require further study before making a final determination.