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December 21, 2008

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Aubrey Baldwin, a lawyer with the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center, which has sued PGE over Boardman's pollution, said PGE's approach isn't nonsensical.

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PGE has asked that the DEQ allow it to stagger its decision on whether to implement specific parts of the plan until it has more information on the technology and regulations that may develop over the next few years.

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Just what would it take politically to get a decision making process focused on the carbon emissions future of the Boardman plant? A process that could make clear what the technologies and costs are for reducing its carbon emissions, and whether we want to pay for those costs or close it down. Is anyone else worrying about this?

Pandora Charms

As it is, the DEQ has proposed a three-phase plan to control haze-causing emissions. In the first phase, PGE would install new burners by 2011 to reduce oxides of nitrogen coming from Boardman's stack -- at a cost of $32.6 million. By 2014, the company would be required to install a $247 million scrubber system to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide. In the last phase, it would install selective catalytic reduction technology at a cost of $192 million by 2018 to further control oxides of nitrogen.

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This process seems backwards. Deciding what to do about carbon emissions should come first.

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Portland General Electric Co. has asked environmental regulators for more flexibility in adopting big pieces of a $472 million cleanup plan proposed for the Boardman coal-fired power plant in central Oregon.

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