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EPA Invited to Community Meeting on Mirant

Representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, Air Protection Division, have been invited to hear first-hand from Alexandria citizens about their air pollution health concerns with regard to emissions from Mirant's Potomac River Generating Station.

In a letter dated March 17, William Skrabak, chief, Division of Environmental Quality, Alexandria Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, invited Judith M. Katz, director, and her staff to attend the Mirant Community Monitoring Group meeting on April 3, in Room 2000, City Hall, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

"Your presence at the meeting is very important to us and the community because of concerns regarding current operations at the plant. It will also benefit the community we are trying to protect and will be appreciated by the MCMG members," Skrabak stated.

MCMG membership includes representatives from City Council and Alexandria residents. Their meetings are designed as an open forum and provide a means to distribute new information. Mirant representatives may also attend these meetings, as well as representatives of Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, according to Skrabak.

His letter to Katz was a summarization of the meeting between city representatives, Virginia DEQ representatives and Region III staff in the latter's Philadelphia offices on March 7. "We believe this meeting accomplished our primary objective of holding an open discussion with EPA and VDEQ to help us understand the positions of the two regulatory agencies," he said.

"It is of utmost importance to the City of Alexandria and its residents that any future operation of Mirant's Potomac River Generating Station, if at all allowed, must be in compliance with all applicable environmental regulations," Skrabak told Katz.

He also stated that the plant's "unrestricted operation" and Mirant's plan for future operations as submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy, "clearly shows that National Ambient Air Quality Standards will not be protected. We urge EPA Region 3 and VDEQ to take immediate steps to rectify this situation."

Recapping points of the Philadelphia meeting, Skrabak made the following observations to Katz:

* Alexandria and its residents "are extremely concerned to hear from EPA and VDEQ that no analyses have been conducted to date by either agency to address" the emissions of PM-2.5, small particulates, from the plant. This pollutant is in "gross violation" of NAAQS.

* Requested the city be a full partner with EPA and VDEQ in any plan approving operation of the plant and monitoring the results of that operation, particularly as that applies to resolving whether or not "trona injections will result in an increase in PM2.5 emissions."

* That the city be a party to the discussions between EPA and the U.S.Department of Energy regarding NAAQS compliance if the plant is authorized "or ordered" to resume operation.

* That EPA should "thoroughly evaluate trona injection prior to allowing its use" by Mirant.

* Urged EPA to analyze "fugitive dust emissions resulting from coal and ash handling operations at the plant." He offered to share the city's data on these activities with EPA for their evaluation.

Skrabak concluded by requesting EPA allow the city "to participate in all future deliberations pertaining to PRGS including copying the city on all correspondence" related to the Mirant plant.