Gov. Norm Bangerter blasted the Intermountain Power Project's reported plans to test-burn out-of-state coal, saying it would breach a decade-old promise to buy only Utah coal for the Delta power plant.
"IPP came to Utah and negotiated with Governor Matheson and other governmental leaders that all coal would be purchased from Utah coal mines for this project. We expect all agreements, written and verbal, to be kept," Bangerter said in a press conference Wednesday.But Mike Nosanov, coal supply manager for IPP, said late Wednesday that the power plant has no immediate plans to burn out-of-state coal.
"Only Utah coal is presently being used at the Intermountain Generating System. There are at present no plans through 1991 to deliver non-Utah coal to the IGS. However, the use of non-Utah coal continues to be an alternative worth evaluation. In the event of transportation or supply interruption or inordinate cost increases, we need to nonetheless ensure that we can receive other coal that might remain available," Nosanov said in a telephone interview from his Los Angeles office.
Bud Scruggs, the governor's chief of staff, said Thursday that Bangerter attempted to reach IPP to clarify its position before the Wednesday press conference.
"All I know, the governor just felt he had to put the state's position on the table and let them know how serious we are about them keeping their agreement," Scruggs said.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday that Steve P. Crouch, fuel supply engineer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, said IPP will begin testing bituminous coal from southern Wyoming and western Colorado. The LA utilities department is operating agent of IPP.
Nosanov said the news report implied IPP had immediate plans to use non-Utah coal. "There are no such plans at present. Mr. Crouch was explaining our current operations the alternatives that have been and are being considered. He was not announcing or establishing new policy," Nosanov said.
Bangerter said he has asked the Utah State Tax Commission to explore potential tax alternatives "to ensure that IPP is living up to its responsibility as a corporate citizen in Utah."
He also has directed the attorney general's office to review legal options available to enforce IPP's commitments.
"I will do all I can to make sure that Utah does not end up with the worst of all worlds, Wyoming and Colorado low-quality coal being used to produce power for California customers, leaving nothing but pollution and broken promises in Utah," the governor said.
Nosanov said IPP was recognized by Power magazine for operating one of the cleanest coal-fired electrical generation plants in the country. "We will do nothing to jeopardize the environment or the status that award implies."