EPA Exercises Enforcement Discretion for Tampa Electric Company In Order to Maintain Electricity Supply
WASHINGTON (September 10, 2017) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it will exercise its enforcement discretion for Tampa Electric Company to operate without meeting all pollution controls at three of its facilities in order to maintain the supply of electricity to customers and critical facilities in Florida and to facilitate the expeditious restoration of lost electrical service caused by Hurricane Irma. This “no action assurance” letter was issued at the request of Tampa Electric Company and in concurrence with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) in response to the extreme risk posed by Hurricane Irma. EPA policy allows the agency to issue no action assurances in cases where it is necessary to avoid extreme risks to public health and safety and where no other mechanism can adequately address the matter.
On September 7, 2017, Tampa Electric Company contacted EPA, FDEP and the Environmental Commission of Hillsborough County requesting relief from permit conditions and requirements at its electric generating sites, including emissions limits for certain air pollutants, limits on hours of operation, fuel usage restrictions and restrictions on the shutdown or bypass of pollution control equipment. EPA concurred on the need for a no action assurance after FDEP analyzed Tampa Electric Company’s request.
EPA believes that the exercise of enforcement discretion in these circumstances is in the public interest and will help address the emergency circumstances in Florida.
Under EPA’s no action assurance letter, the facility must continue to exercise good air pollution control practices and comply with all other federal, state and local environmental laws. The no action assurance is temporary and will terminate on September 19, 2017.