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Four States to Sue Coal-Fired Power Plants

Four northeastern states said that they will sue five West Virginia power plants for violating the Clean Air Act's pollution-control rules. The lawsuit marks the latest skirmish in a long-running battle over the Environmental Protection Agency's handling of the federal requirement that coal-fired power plants built before 1970 install new pollution controls when they upgrade their facilities. The EPA had spent years investigating possible violations of the requirement but recently stopped its investigation of about 50 cases saying that it would not bring any new lawsuits unless a plant violated the current administration's less stringent interpretation of the law. The states say emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide from the coal-fired plants cause smog, acid rain and respiratory disease. Coal-fired utility plants are also releasing 40 TONS, or 80,000 pounds, of mercury a year into the air, with major implications on human health and the environment.

Washington Post May 21, 2004

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