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(Dale, IN) Riverview Energy Corporation (REC) received construction approval from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) in June 2019. Several years later and with no coal-to-diesel plant on site, an IDEM notice sent to REC on August 1, 2023, invalidating the permit means it could stay that way.

Stipulations of the originally approved permit required REC to “commence construction” within 18 months of approval. On September 25, 2020, REC submitted an extension request that successfully pushed their deadline to June 10, 2022.

On that day staff members from IDEM and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency visited the Dale construction site to evaluate the progression of the project. These agencies rely on several memoranda and guiding principles to determine what activities satisfy the “commence construction” requirement of the approved permit. This guidance specifies two elements of that determination: whether the source has initiated construction of buildings or structures, and whether the source engaged in ongoing construction activities that will result in the completion of the buildings and structures consistent with the permit as issued.

When IDEM and U.S. EPA visited the Dale project location it was noted that “ground had been graded in preparation for the project and to control sediment runoff, an access road was being graded, a barrier fence had been completed around the construction site, and a concrete foundation pad for a building had been poured.” They also confirmed REC’s acknowledgment that, since the June 2022 visit, no additional construction has been completed and no binding contracts related to the project have been signed.

Based on the IDEM evaluation the REC construction permit is expired and no longer valid. If REC plans to conduct further construction related to air permitting requirements they must obtain a new permit to construct and operate. If REC wishes to challenge this decision, Indiana Code requires all documents to be submitted for an administrative review within 18 days of the mailed notice on August 1, 2023.

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