In August 2014, the EPA finalized the regulation regarding the use of water for once through cooling at existing facilities to address impingement and entrainment concerns. NRG anticipates that more stringent requirements will be incorporated into some of its water discharge permits over the next several years as NPDES permits are renewed.
Byproducts, Wastes, Hazardous Materials and Contamination
In April 2015, the EPA finalized the rule regulating byproducts of coal combustion (e.g., ash and gypsum) as solid wastes under the RCRA. The Company has evaluated the impact of the new rule on its results of operations, financial condition and cash flows and has accrued its environmental and asset retirement obligations under the rule based on current estimates as of December 31, 2015.
Maryland Environmental Regulations — In December 2014, MDE proposed a regulation regarding NOx emissions from coal-fired electric generating units, which had it been finalized would have required by 2020 the Company (at each of the three Dickerson coal-fired units and the Chalk Point coal-fired unit that does not have an SCR) to either (1) install and operate an SCR; (2) retire the unit; or (3) convert the fuel source from coal to natural gas. In early 2015, the State of Maryland decided not to finalize the regulation as proposed. In November 2015, MDE finalized revised regulations to address future NOx reductions, which although more stringent than previous regulations, will not cause the Company to spend capital to comply. As a result of the new regulations, on February 29, 2016, NRG notified PJM that it was withdrawing the standing deactivation notices for Dickerson Units 1, 2 and 3 and Chalk Point Units 1 and 2.
New Source Review — The EPA and various states are investigating compliance of electric generating facilities with the pre-construction permitting requirements of the CAA known as “new source review,” or NSR. In 2007, Midwest Generation received an NOV from the EPA alleging that past work at Crawford, Fisk, Joliet, Powerton, Waukegan and Will County generating stations violated NSR and other regulations. These alleged violations are the subject of the litigation described in Item 15 — Note 22, Commitments and Contingencies. In January 2009, GenOn received an NOV from the EPA alleging that past work at Keystone, Portland and Shawville generating stations violated regulations regarding NSR. In June 2011, GenOn received an NOV from the EPA alleging that past work at Avon Lake and Niles generating stations violated NSR. In December 2007, the NJDEP filed suit alleging that NSR violations occurred at the Portland generating station, which suit was resolved pursuant to a July 2013 consent decree. Additionally, in April 2013, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection issued four NOVs alleging that past work at oil-fired combustion turbines at the Torrington Terminal, Franklin, Branford and Middletown generation stations violated regulations regarding NSR.
Burton Island Old Ash Landfill — In January 2006, NRG's Indian River Power LLC was notified that it may be a potentially responsible party with respect to Burton Island Old Ash Landfill, a historic captive landfill located at the Indian River facility. On October 1, 2007, NRG signed an agreement with DNREC to investigate the site through the Voluntary Clean-up Program. On February 4, 2008, DNREC issued findings that no further action is required in relation to surface water and that a previously planned shoreline stabilization project would satisfactorily address shoreline erosion. The landfill itself required a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study to determine the type and scope of any additional required work. The DNREC approved the Feasibility Study in December 2012. In January 2013, DNREC proposed a remediation plan based on the Feasibility Study. The remediation plan was approved in October 2013. The cost of completing the work required by the approved remediation plan is consistent with amounts previously budgeted. On May 29, 2008, DNREC requested that NRG's Indian River Power LLC participate in the development and performance of a Natural Resource Damage Assessment at the Burton Island Old Ash Landfill. NRG is currently working with DNREC and other trustees to close out the assessment process.
For further discussion of these matters, refer to Note 22, Commitments and Contingencies.
Environmental Capital Expenditures
NRG estimates that environmental capital expenditures from 2016 through 2020 required to comply with environmental laws will be approximately $350 million, which includes $68 million for GenOn and $263 million for Midwest Generation. These costs, the majority of which will be expended by the end of 2016, are primarily associated with (i) DSI/ESP upgrades at the Powerton facility and the Joliet gas conversion to satisfy the IL CPS and (ii) MATS compliance at the Avon Lake facility.