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For Immediate Release
June 28, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

STATES SUE OWNERS OF THREE PENNSYLVANIA COAL PLANTS Clean Air Cases Orphaned by Bush Administration Pursued by States


Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey today filed a federal lawsuit, charging that the corporate owners of three large coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania have violated the Clean Air Act. Some of the plants have been operating since the 1950's with inadequate air pollution controls.

The power plants are owned by Allegheny Energy, Inc. and its subsidiaries. While major upgrades have been made to improve the plants' power-producing capacity, their owners failed to install modern pollution controls as required by law. As a result, the plants emit thousands of tons of air pollution each year and that pollution causes smog and acid rain in Pennsylvania communities and nearby downwind states.

Extensive documentation turned over to the states by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that the power plant owners violated the New Source Review provision of the Clean Air Act. Despite having developed cases against the power plants for ongoing Clean Air Act violations, the federal government has not brought enforcement actions.

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. said: "Maryland's air quality and the Chesapeake Bay are directly and adversely impacted by emissions from coal-fired power plants in upwind states. Fair and uniform application of the nation's clean air laws, which is the goal of this litigation, will significantly advance Maryland's efforts to attain the federal ambient air quality standards."

Pennsylvania Environmental Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said: "We are calling on Allegheny Energy to put in place equipment and operational changes that will enable its plants to perform in a manner that meets the highest standards for environmental protection. We hope that Allegheny Energy will work with us expeditiously to clean up their plants and protect public health. Allegheny's new management team has been working to clean up the company's financial and environmental performance. It's time now to get the job done for the people of Pennsylvania."

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said: "The sky is not a dumping ground for industrial pollution. Pollution from these coal-fired power plants operating without adequate emission controls harms the public health and the environment in New York and other states. It is fair and right to hold these plants accountable to the law."
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said: "This aggressive action is necessary to protect our health because the federal government has unconscionably orphaned this case and abandoned environmental protection. We waited for the federal government to act responsibly and now must fill the vacuum left by its surrender to special interests. Recent court decisions are consistent with our case, which relies on the Clean Air Act's clear language. We will hold these plants accountable for causing more smog and acid rain and more asthma and respiratory disease."

New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey said: "Allegheny Energy has ignored the requirements of the Clean Air Act at these three plants, increasing emissions that harm our children with asthma and our senior citizens with respiratory ailments. The Hatfield's Ferry plant is among the worst coal-fired power plants in terms of its harm to public health and the environment of New Jersey."

The enforcement lawsuit against Allegheny was given a boost by last week's decision by the District of Columbia federal Circuit Court of Appeals. That case found unconvincing an argument from the power industry that only an increase in the hourly emission rate, as opposed to an increase in actual annual pollution, would trigger the Clean Air Act's pollution control requirement.

The Pennsylvania coal-fired plants that are the subject of the clean air suit are:

Power Plant
PA County
SOx Emissions (2003, Tons Per Year)
NOx Emissions (2003, Tons Per Year)
Armstrong
Armstrong County
34,141 tons
3,976 tons
Hatfield's Ferry
Greene County
139,424 tons
17,643 tons
Mitchell
Washington County
1,483 tons
2,279 tons

The legal complaint is available on the New York Attorney General's website at: www.oag.state.ny.us

The case was filed today in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania.

(The case is being handled by: Susan Shinkman, Marianne Mulroy and Robert Reiley of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Peter Lehner, Jared Snyder, Andrew Frank and Jacob Hollinger of the New York Attorney General's Office; Lori DiBella and Kimberly Massicotte of the Connecticut Attorney General's Office; Susan Martielli and Kathy Kinsey of the Maryland Attorney General's Office; and Lisa Morelli, Jean Reilly and Kevin Auerbacher of the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.)

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