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Alabama Power to pay state fine, stop coal burning at plant

January 22, 2022 GMT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Power Co. will pay $75,000 in fines and stop burning coal in a unit that released too much hydrochloric acid at a generating plant north of Mobile under an agreement with state environmental regulators.

The settlement came as the utility agreed to a consent order from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management following a violation at the Barry Steam Electric Generating Plant in Mobile County in August, al.com reported.

Under the agreement, the company must stop burning coal in the plant’s Unit 4 by 2028. Alabama Power already had announced plans to convert the unit to burn natural gas, but now it must do so to comply.

Testing showed emissions of hydrochloric acid slightly above allowed levels, according to a statement from the company. Alabama Power said it reported the problem to the state and agreed to an order proposed by the agency.

State regulators said they considered the release a “serious violation” that was considered a repeat problem since the plant also exceeded the limit in 2020.