NY AG to Sue PA Power Plant

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ANNOUNCES INTENT TO SUE MAJOR PENNSYLVANIA POWER PLANT THAT POLLUTES NEW YORK WITH ITS EMISSIONS

Homer City Plant Is One of the Largest Out-of-State Sources of Sulfur Dioxide Pollution to New York

NEW YORK, NY (July 20, 2010) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has notified a major Pennsylvania electric power plant of his intent to sue over multiple violations of the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) at the facility. The plant, Homer City Station, is one of the largest out-of-state contributors of sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution to New York.

Attorney General Cuomo is joined by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) in this action. In the notice of intent to sue, Cuomo and PADEP charge that the current and former owners of Homer City Station disregarded provisions of the CAA that required state-of-the-art pollution controls be installed at the plant when it underwent several major modifications in the 1980s and 1990s that increased its pollution emissions. The lawsuit would seek to require the companies to comply fully with the CAA, including installing state-of-the-art pollution controls to address their increased emissions. The CAA requires a 60-day notice of intent to sue.

“The owners of Homer City Station have ignored their legal obligations while their power plant pollutes our skies and our lungs with over one hundred thousand tons of emissions each year,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “We will hold the owners of the Homer City power plant accountable for breaking clean air laws and for endangering the health and environment of New Yorkers.”

Homer City Station is a 1,884 megawatt electric power generating plant located in Homer City, Pennsylvania, roughly 50 miles east of Pittsburgh. The plant emits over 100,000 tons of SO2, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM) each year. Air emissions from the plant contribute to smog and soot pollution in New York, with the plant’s annual emissions of over 100,000 tons of SO2 alone constituting one of the largest upwind sources of this kind of pollution to New York state. Pollutants contained in the plant’s emissions are directly linked to increases in asthma attacks, lung diseases, and other health problems. They are also primary contributors to acid rain, which has severely damaged lakes, forests, and wildlife throughout New York’s Adirondack and Catskill regions.

Cuomo and PADEP charge that, in violation of several provisions of the CAA, the owners of the Homer City plant made a number of physical or operational changes to the plant between 1982 and 1996 that resulted in increases in emissions of SO2, NOx, and/or PM that continue to this day. The CAA requires that major modifications that increase pollutant emissions be accompanied by the installation of state-of-the-art pollution controls. The owners and operator of Homer City Station are charged with consistently ignoring these and other requirements of the CAA in the course of modifying and operating the facility.

The notice of intent to sue names both the current owner of Homer City Station – a consortium of eight limited liability companies (Homer City OL1-OL8 LLC) – and its operator (EME Homer City Generation L.P.). In addition, the notice names several companies that owned the plant when, or since, it was modified and increased air pollution. These past owners include: Chestnut Ridge Energy Company; Mission Energy Westside Incorporated; Pennsylvania Electric Company; and New York State Electric & Gas Corporation.

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Susan von Reusner and Affirmative Litigation Section Chief Michael Myers of the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau.


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