Order of the Supreme Court regarding environmental norms of NOx for coal based thermal power plants, 05/08/2019

Order of the Supreme Court of India in the matter of M. C. Mehta Vs Union of India & Others dated 05/08/2019 regarding environmental norms of NOx for coal based thermal power plants (TPPs).

A meeting was held on May 17, 2019 under the Chairmanship of Ritesth Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and attended by Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), Ministry of Power (MoP), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Central Electricity Authority (CEA), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and MoEF&CC.

The CPCB joint monitoring report on the implementation of environmental norms for NOx by coal based thermal power plants as per notification dated 07/12/2015 was taken up during the meeting. The Officers from MoP/NTPC briefed the Committee that an affidavit was filed by CEA with respect to NOx, "enclosing MoP Letter requesting for changing norm of 300 mg/Nm3 and 100 mg/Nm3 for TPP (Units) installed after 31/12/2003 to 450mg/Nm3 which is practically achievable with the Combustion Modification." MoP has been entrusted to formulate a strategy on NOx.

In a briefing to Additional Solicitor General (ASG) for implementation of TPP Environmental Standard it was decided that to assess NOx emissions joint sampling with CEA & CPCB would be carried out at TPPs having Combustion Modification by design and CPCB shall submit Report to MoEF&CC. The Officer of CPCB intimated that the joint monitoring was carried out in 7 units of 4 thermal power plants by joint team of CPCB and CEA during the period of 13/02/2019 to 02/04/2019. Out of 7 monitored units only 5 units were found complying with the NOx emission standards of 300 mg/Nm3 at full load only. It was agreed in principle to revise the NOx norms from 300 mg/Nm3 for thermal power plants installed between 01/01/2004 to 31/12/2016 and same would be presented for a final decision to Secretary MoEF& CC and Secretary MoP.”

The Supreme Court directed that action be taken on the consensus that has been reached between the parties and report submitted within three months.