Regulators Turn Down Two Elk Permit Extension Request

Aug 31, 2015

Credit Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

Wyoming’s Industrial Siting Council dealt a potentially fatal blow to the Two Elk power plant Monday when it decided not to extend the deadline for the company to begin construction on the project.

The power plant was originally proposed in 1997 to burn “waste" coal from nearby mines. The project developer, North American Power Group, has had its permit extended half a dozen times since then, but almost nothing has been built at the site. By not extending the deadline again, the Council rendered that permit invalid.

“There may be several different steps, but our process, now that they’re out of compliance, is the [permit] termination process,” said Keith Guille, spokesman for the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

Even so, Guille says if the company can reestablish compliance, it could re-qualify for its permit—meaning the project isn't necessarily dead.

The continued deliberation is frustrating to many in the state, including the Powder River Basin Resource Council, which has challenged Two Elk's permits before.

“We believe if the project would move forward, they should come back and get new permits that have the right standards in place,” said Shannon Anderson, an attorney for the group. She says after this many years, it only makes sense to start from scratch.

The federal government is currently seeking repayment of almost $6 million from the project developer for allegedly inappropriate use of stimulus funds. Campbell County is also seeking nearly a quarter million dollars in unpaid property taxes.