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Liz Williamson, partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office and member of Balch’s Environmental & Natural Resources Practice, was quoted by Law360 regarding the impacts of a new soot rule on power plants and manufacturing facilities.
In the article published February 7, Liz discussed potential impacts of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) updated soot emissions standards.
In her interview, Liz explained why the narrow margin between background PM 2.5 levels in many areas and the emissions that new or modified projects might generate may pose a concern for power plants.
"The problem is not illusory, it's a mathematical difference between background values in an area and the new standard," Law 360 quoted Liz as saying. "And so when you're looking at permitting, you have to figure out how to navigate between those two... That's been a real big concern for power sector clients because they're getting so much pressure from EPA to retire coal units."
Liz also discussed how operators will have to strategize how to replace current facilities, with existing permits, as they approach the end of their operational life. In addition to the new soot rule, they will have to consider other EPA regulations, including an anticipated rule on greenhouse gas emissions aimed directly at coal-fired plants.
"You obviously have to have an air permit to pursue those new projects, which, most likely for the bigger projects, requires modeling," Liz was quoted as saying. "So how does this PM standard affect the decisions that they're making with respect to being able to build that new dispatchable generation? And is there a reliability concern that we're going to be dealing with?"
Liz has more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of environmental law. Liz’s practice involves counseling, risk management, permitting, litigation, and enforcement. With the evolving environmental regulations addressing energy transitions and climate, Liz helps power sector and manufacturing clients understand the impacts of these changes and navigate future compliance. She often provides advice and education to C-suite management and Boards of Directors on forthcoming regulations and risks. In her air practice, Liz represents clients permitting new generation and constructing carbon reduction technologies. She also provides day-to-day support for clients involved in coal ash management, beneficial use and disposal.
Liz has been recognized among "Legal Elite" by Virginia Business and by Chambers USA in Environmental Law.