Iberdrola's Lakeview biomass plans call for more emissions
By Lee van der Voo
Sustainable Business Oregon contributing writer
Iberdrola is asking to change an air quality permit for a biomass plant planned in Lakeview.
Iberdrola Renewables Inc. is looking to more than double the amount of emissions allowed at its planned biomass plant in Lakeview, following word from a supplier that its equipment doesn’t work as well to filter them as originally guaranteed.
The project is still aiming to reduce total emissions in the town by combining with the Collins Pine Company to replace a wood-fired boiler at the sawmill with an updated version that produces steam that generates electricity.
But original plans called for lowering allowable limits on particulate matter — of real concern in Lakeview — by 66 percent. Now those limits will be only slightly lower than in the past.
For the last 10 to 15 years, Lakeview’s air quality has been under scrutiny because it exceeds federal limits for some sizes of particulate matter — small particles and droplets comprised of dust and soil, metals, acids and organic chemicals. Programs to curb the pollution, which has been attributed to residential woodburning and emissions from the sawmill, have controlled but not eliminated the issue.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is holding a meeting Thursday to discuss Iberdrola’s proposal and hear concerns. It takes place at 6 p.m. at the Lakeview Senior Center. Any change to the permit would require a comment period and a second, more formal hearing.
Mark Fisher, senior permit writer for DEQ in Bend, is heading that effort. He said experts in Portland are reviewing an analysis of the impacts of the proposed change, submitted by Iberdrola.
“The emissions that they are proposing now will be completely offset. So there will be no net increase in emissions to the ambient air quality… to the area," said Fisher. "The tradeoff is less now than it was before."
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