Schneiderman suing Pa. power plant

Jessica M. Karmasek Jan. 7, 2011, 12:30pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Thursday that he is suing a major Pennsylvania electric power plant over multiple violations of the federal Clean Air Act.

The plant, Homer City Station, is a 1,884 megawatt electric power generating plant located about 50 miles east of Pittsburgh and is the largest out-of-state contributor of sulfur dioxide, or SO2, pollution to New York, according to the Attorney General's Office. The facility emits approximately 100,000 tons of SO2 annually -- more than twice as much of the harmful pollutant as all of the power plants operating in New York combined, Schneiderman claims.

According to Schneiderman's office, the pollutants contained in the plant's emissions have been directly linked to increases in asthma attacks, lung diseases and other health problems, and are a primary contributor to acid rain.

"The owners of this power plant have repeatedly thumbed their noses at clean air laws, while dumping more than double the sulfur dioxide pollution into our air and lungs as all of the power plants operating in New York combined," Schneiderman said in a statement.

"Their disregard for New Yorkers is simply unconscionable, and as Attorney General, I am committed to taking the fight to those who endanger the health and environment of New York. This lawsuit reflects my commitment, holding the owners of the Homer City power plant accountable for breaking the law, and polluting the air that New Yorkers breathe."

Schneiderman is joined by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in this action.

Together, they charge that the current and former owners of Homer City Station ignored CAA requirements that state-of-the-art pollution controls be installed at the plant when it underwent several major modifications in the 1990s that increased its pollution emissions. The lawsuit seeks to require the companies to comply fully with the act, including installing state-of-the-art pollution controls to address these pollution increases.

This action names both the current owner of Homer City Station -- a consortium of eight limited liability companies -- and its operator, EME Homer City Generation L.P. Also named are two companies that owned the plant when, or since, it was modified and increased air pollution, including Pennsylvania Electric Company and New York State Electric & Gas Corporation.

New York and PADEP are jointly prosecuting the case with federal Environmental Protection Agency, which also filed a lawsuit Thursday against the plant for CAA violations.

According to Schneiderman's office, the states have filed a motion to intervene in EPA's case, which would ensure that the cases are litigated together before the same judge.

The action will be taken in United State District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently rejected North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper's public nuisance lawsuit against Tennessee Valley Authority.

Cooper claimed TVA's plants were polluting North Carolina's air.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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New York Attorney General
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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
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