Beech Hollow Energy Project

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm}} Robinson Power Company has proposed a 250 megawatt (MW) coal plant, which would utilize circulating fluidized bed technology and burn waste coal. This is a revision of a 1984 proposal for a waste-coal plant. According to Residents Against the Power Plant, the Beech Hollow Energy project will burn refuse from a “square-mile dump” that is one of the largest coal-refuse piles east of the Mississippi, and from other refuse piles throughout the area.[1]

The U.S. Forest Service submitted comments to federal and state environmental regulators in March 2005, arguing that the plant would adversely affect wilderness areas in West Virginia.[2] The proposal was accepted by Robinson Township officials on Sept. 11, 2006; planning commission chairman Neal Matchett resigned in protest of the decision.[3]

Robinson Power had until Oct. 1, 2006, to begin construction in order to prevent the air permit from lapsing.[4] No significant construction has occurred on this project as of late 2007. Several permits have been challenged by local residents, keeping the project at bay.

In March 2008, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) issued their notice of intent to sue Robinson Power Company for improperly rushing the Beech Hollow plant through the permitting process, and for skipping key steps intended to protect public health. In response, Robinson Power Company submitted a construction plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). The company also requested an extension of the construction permit. In June 2008, EIP petitioned the PADEP to revoke Robinson Power's permit for failure to include a MACT determination. On June 30, the PADEP ordered Robinson Power to submit an application for a MACT determination by September 15, 2008. According to the Sierra Club, the PADEP has yet to act on the request for a construction permit extension.[5]

On January 20, 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection invalidated the plant's air quality permit, because Robinson Power had allowed construction to lapse for more than 18 months.[6]

Project Details

Sponsor: Robinson Power Company
Location: Robinson Township, Washington County, PA
Capacity: 250 MW
Type: Circulating fluidized bed
Status: Cancelled


Citizen Groups



  1. Smoldering Debate, Pittsburgh City Paper, July 28, 2005.
  2. USDA Forest Service Comments, Truth About Gob website, accessed January 2008.
  3. Robinson Power Company Granted Permit for New Plant, KDKA website, September 12, 2006.
  4. Power Plant Builder Ready to Move Forward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 14, 2006.
  5. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed November 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  6. "Delay in Construction Leads DEP to Invalidate Beech Hollow Air Quality Plan’s Approval," Pennsylvania DEP, January 20, 2010.

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