-- Attorney General Stuart Rabner announced
today the issuance of a formal Notice of
Intent to Sue the federal Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) for violating the
Clean Air Act by not responding to a petition
from the state Department of Environmental
Protection that objected to a proposed operating
permit for a coal-fired power plant in Pennsylvania.
According to Rabner, New Jersey petitioned
the EPA on July 21, 2006 to review a proposed
Pennsylvania operating permit for a coal-fired
plant in Upper Mount Bethel Township –
within one mile of New Jersey – owned
by Reliant Energy Mid-Atlantic Power Holdings.
Although required by the Clean Air Act to
do so within 60 days of receiving the petition,
EPA has yet to respond to the petition.
Known as the Portland Generating Station,
the Reliant-owned plant is located directly
across the Delaware River from Warren County,
are committed to working with the Department
of Environmental Protection to pursue litigation,
where appropriate, that will help protect
the quality of air we breathe here in New
Jersey," said Attorney General Rabner.
"The state’s position is that
the EPA has a clear, non-discretionary duty
under the Clean Air Act to address DEP’s
petition. The Department’s petition
raises significant concerns about the terms
and provisions of the proposed operating
permit for the Reliant plant."
unconscionable that the EPA to date has
shown so little regard for the environmental
and public-health concerns we have detailed
in our petition," said DEP Commissioner
Lisa P. Jackson. "In this case, the
EPA is ignoring the law, and we are putting
the agency on notice that it cannot continue
to thumb its nose at the people of New Jersey".
DEP’s July 21, 2006 petition to
the EPA objected to Pennsylvania’s
proposed approval of a permit for the Portland
Generating Station for two reasons:
The Portland plant made modifications
allowing it to increase its emissions
of air pollutants without installing the
pollution controls required under the
Clean Air Act. As a result, a “compliance
schedule” --including an enforceable
sequence of compliance milestones –
that will eventually lead to the elimination
of all violations is needed in the permit.
The permit lacks operational limits called
heat input limits, and would allow the
Portland plant to exceed air quality standards
set by the Clean Air Act. Heat input is
a measure of the amount of coal burned
each hour and limits on heat input are
necessary to avoid excessive hourly emissions
for many air contaminants, for example
particulate matter and hazardous air pollutants.
Portland coal-fired plant is located upwind
of New Jersey’s Highlands, and prevailing
winds carry its air pollution directly into