Prove your humanity

A company that proposed natural gas-fired power plant in southwest Pennsylvania is canceling the project’s state permit. The announcement was a victory for environmental groups who opposed the plant. 

The so-called “Beech Hollow” project would have produced 1,000 MW of electricity. 

Robinson Power, LLC, the Burgettstown, Pa.-based company behind the project, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The DEP granted an air permit for the plant to the company in 2017. This year, the company modified its design and was granted a modified permit by DEP. 

But environmental groups opposed the project, charging that the plant’s emissions would have hurt air quality in the region. 

In June, the Clean Air Council appealed the new permit, citing a number of alleged deficiencies. Then in August, the company reversed course, and asked the DEP to forget the new design and go back to the old one. The DEP agreed and reinstated the old permit. 

The Clean Air Council appealed that decision, arguing that once DEP modified the permit, the old conditions were no longer legally valid and that the company would have to seek a new permit. On Sept. 28, it sent a formal request to DEP to cancel the permit, pointing out that the company had already pulled its request to distribute electricity on the grid to federal regulators in the spring. 

Before the case could be decided, the company pulled the plug on the permits. On Sept. 29, the DEP wrote to the company that it was terminating the permits, per the company’s request. 

In a statement, Lisa Hallowell, senior attorney with the Environmental Integrity Project, which represented the Clean Air Council, said: “We are thrilled to have stopped the construction of a dirty power plant in Robinson Township, where residents are already overburdened by air pollution from a plethora of oil and gas facilities.” 

This story is produced in partnership with StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration among The Allegheny Front, WPSU, WITF and WHYY to cover the commonwealth's energy economy.