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Limited Reaction From GVEA on President's Call For More Emissions Controls

Fairbanks, AK - During an address at Georgetown University Tuesday, President Barack Obama called on the Environmental Protection Agency to draw up new rules for emission restrictions on existing coal fired power plants across the country.  But the President did not outline what he expects the new rules to look like.

Corinne Bradish is a spokeswoman for the Golden Valley Electric Association in Fairbanks.  She says it’s too soon to tell how new emission restrictions might affect GVEA’s coal fired operation, formerly known as the Healy Clean Coal Power Plant. “It’s premature of us to speculate on the proposed new federal regulations," says Bradish.  "But as a coal plant operator, we do support using the best technology available and our goal remains to get HCCP which is now called Healy Unit Two online for the benefit of interior residents.”

GVEA changed the name of the plant at the request of the Rural Utility Service, which provides loan funding for the project.   The President’s address raised national concerns about jobs associated with coal plants.  Questoins have also arisen about the effects on the coast of energy.   Bradish says coal is still the cheapest source of fuel for interior residents. “Coal is our base load, our least expensive fuel and it’s important," says Bradish.  "It’s our bread and butter it stabilizes our electric costs.”

Last year, a federal district court judge approved a joint consent decree between GVEA, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and the EPA in which GVEA agreed to install additional pollution controls at the plant.  GVEA is finalizing an environmental review required by the Rural Utility Service.  Once that step is complete, the plants is expected to come online within 18 to 24 months.