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Gordon signs order delaying shutdown of unit at Jim Bridger Power Plant

The Jim Bridger Power Plant in southwest Wyoming. (Shutterstock)

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon acted Monday to avert a shutdown of a unit at the Jim Bridger Power Plant at the beginning of 2022.

According to a release from Gordon’s office, the governor signed a Temporary Emergency Suspension Order to keep the unit open and prevent job losses, citing authority under the Clean Air Act. The unit would continue to operate for at least four months under the order.

“More than eighteen months ago, Wyoming submitted a revised State Implementation Plan (SIP) to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would have allowed Unit 2 of the power plant to continue to operate and still meet the regional haze guidelines,” the release said.

“We had a deal,” Gordon said in the release. “PacifiCorp, EPA and Wyoming all agreed in 2020 that the regional haze guidelines would not only be met, but exceeded with the revised SIP. Now, with that deal unilaterally abandoned by EPA, this emergency order is necessary to protect Wyoming workers from EPA’s recklessness.”

Gordon said that plan was originally approved by the EPA in 2020, but that the the agency had reversed course under President Joe Biden and EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

“Consequently, a costly and outdated SIP remains in effect,” the release said, adding that the plan requires the addition of expensive selective catalytic reduction equipment to be installed on Unit 2 by Dec. 31, 2021. 

“At this date, it is impossible to add such equipment,” the release said.

The temporary extension could be disapproved by Administrator Regan, but Wyoming believes the suspension meets all the legal requirements of the Clean Air Act and should be allowed to remain in effect.