May 18, 2017

CT sues EPA over transient Pennsylvania air pollutants

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
Attorney General George Jepsen.

Connecticut is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to take action on the state's request to halt pollution blowing into Connecticut from a Pennsylvania coal-fired power plant.

The filing made this week with the United States District Court, District of Connecticut, by the Office of the Connecticut Attorney General is based on a Clean Air Act petition filed June 1, 2016 by Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

The petition asked the EPA to require the Brunner Island Steam Electric Station in York County, Pa., to reduce nitrogen oxide air pollution generated from its three coal-fired electric generating units because it contributes to bad air quality and public health issues in Connecticut.

Attorney General George Jepsen and DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee say the federal government's inaction continues to expose Connecticut citizens to unhealthy air from a plant that "significantly contributes to our pollution and needs to be controlled."

The action the attorney general is seeking is for the EPA administrator to either deny the petition or make a finding after a public hearing, as required by federal law. If a finding is issued, the EPA would then by law prohibit the source of the pollution from operating for three months. The violator then has to comply with EPA-imposed emission limitations and compliance schedules, Jepsen said.

Brunner Island emitted about 11,000 tons of pollutants in 2014. By comparison, Connecticut's largest nitrogen oxide-producing facility emitted less than 600 tons in 2014, and the total emissions from all point sources combined in Connecticut was 8,800 tons, the attorney general said.

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