Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Clean Air Council Joins CBF, Maryland Action Against EPA To Reduce Power Plant Emissions In PA, Other States

The Clean Air Council Tuesday announced it is joining litigation filed this month against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by a coalition of public health, conservation, and environmental groups over the problem of smog (ground-level ozone) in the northeast.  
The environmental groups seek an order compelling EPA to take action on a petition by the State of Maryland to make a finding that power plants in upwind states are undermining Maryland’s ability to meet the federal health standard for ozone.  
Although EPA was required to hold a public hearing on the state’s petition within sixty days, over eleven months have passed without a public hearing.   
“When EPA does not perform its obligations under the law, it is for the courts to uphold the rule of law and ensure that the agency does what it is legally required to do,” said Joseph Minott, the Council’s Executive Director and Chief Counsel.
The industrial plants include 36 electric generating units at 19 coal-fired power plants in five upwind states of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.  The plaintiffs allege the power plants have pollution controls in place, but are not running them effectively, putting the health of people at risk.
Of these five states, Pennsylvania has the largest number of these units – a total of eleven.  There is one unit at the Bruce Mansfield Plant (Beaver County), two units at the Cambria Cogen Plant (Cambria County), one unit at the Cheswick Generating Station (Allegheny County), three units at the Homer City Plant (Indiana County), two units at the Keystone Power Plant (Armstrong County), and two units at the Montour Power Plant (Montour County).  
In addition to generating smog pollution for downwind states like Maryland, Pennsylvania also suffers from smog pollution from power plants in the other four upwind states.
Properly running the pollution controls would improve air quality in the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. areas, in other downwind states like New Jersey and New York, and in communities surrounding the power plants in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Christopher Ahlers, a Staff Attorney of the Council stated that “not only do these practices harm the health of plant workers and their communities, they harm the health of people hundreds of miles away.”
The initial complaint in Chesapeake Bay Foundation v. Pruitt was filed by Adirondack Council, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Integrity Project, and Sierra Club.
The Maryland Department of the Environment has commenced a similar action in State of Maryland v. Pruitt.
For more information on programs and other initiatives, visit the Clean Air Council website.

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