Big Island power plant pollution permit rejected

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency is ordering the state's Clean Air Branch to modify or reissue an air pollution permit for a proposed Big Island power plant that would generate electricity from eucalyptus trees and other plant matter.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy ruled the Clean Air Branch failed to take into consideration pollutants that would be generated by the startup, shutdown or malfunction of the Hu Honua Bioenergy plant.

Branch acting director Nolan Hirai says his agency will have to correct the existing permit and respond to EPA's objection.

The Clean Air Branch is part of the state Department of Health.

Hu Honua is also facing legal problems. Its previous general contractor, Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. says it owes more than $35 million in unpaid bills.

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