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Sierra Club, Talen agree to cease coal operations at Brunner Island by 2029

Talen Energy Corp.'s 1,460-MW Brunner Island plant will cease burning coal by 2029 under a settlement with the Sierra Club announced Feb. 14.

Under the settlement, Talen agreed to operate the dual-fuel capable Brunner Island only on natural gas during the ozone season from May 1 to Sept. 30 beginning Jan. 1, 2023, and cease coal operations after Dec. 31, 2028. The agreement, however, does allow the use of coal during the ozone season prior to Dec. 31, 2028, subject to restrictions on annual CO2 and NOx emissions, as well as during emergencies as determined by PJM Interconnection LLC.

The settlement was reached after the Sierra Club on Feb. 14 served Brunner Island with a Notice of Intent, or NOI, to sue under several environmental laws related to the plant's coal operations. The Sierra Club had intended to file suit on May 15, after the expiration of the NOI's waiting period, but said the global settlement resolves all of the group's claims against Brunner Island.

The settlement will be memorialized in a consent decree and filed with the complaint. The consent decree will be reviewed and approved by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Brunner Island was the subject of multiple legal actions by states surrounding Pennsylvania against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency related to air quality concerns in recent months, including Delaware and Connecticut.

"While we still have a few years until these protections will go into effect, stopping coal burning at Brunner Island will end the creation of many harmful toxins and help surrounding states meet the federal air pollution limits set by the Clean Air Act," Mark Kresowik, eastern region deputy director for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign said in a separate news release. "We believe this settlement will help resolve outstanding air pollution issues that have been raised by Delaware and Connecticut, and will significantly reduce water pollution resulting from the creation of coal ash at the site."

Riverstone Holdings LLC owns Talen Energy.