Over 50,000 Air Pollution Violations Lead to Legal Challenge of Massive Coal-Fired Power Plant
September 3, 2010
On September 2, Sierra Club and its allies took legal action to curb air pollution at one of the dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the nation. The Club, represented by Earthjustice and Environmental Integrity Project, filed a lawsuit in federal court against Luminant (formerly TXU) for more than 50,000 air pollution violations at its massive Martin Lake coal plant located near Longview, Texas.
The lawsuit is based largely on company self-reported emissions data that indicates that the coal-fired power plant is emitting fine particle pollution well in excess of federal limits, in violation of the Clean Air Act. Fine particles from power plants have been linked to asthma attacks, lung ailments, and thousands of premature deaths a year. Martin Lake is also the worst power plant for mercury pollution among all U.S. coal plants, and like all other coal plants, emits a toxic soup of other air pollutants in enormous volumes each year, especially soot particles, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. These chemicals combine in the atmosphere to create dangerous levels of ozone, acid rain and smog that worsen asthma and other respiratory diseases. Carbon dioxide is the leading greenhouse gas that causes global warming. In Texas, Martin Lake ranked third for asthma-causing soot pollution and was responsible for 13 percent of all industrial air pollution in the state.
Despite all this, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has ignored years of repeated excessive soot pollution and other violations at the Martin Lake coal plant, putting the health of nearby and downwind communities at risk. While this legal challenge alleges over 50,000 violations for the last 5 years, TCEQ has not issued one enforcement notice, nor corrected any of the deficiencies at the plant during that same time period.
Details and Documents:
Over 50,000 Air Pollution Violations Lead to Legal Challenge of Luminant / TXU's Martin Lake Coal-Fired Power Plant
September 2, 2010, Sierra Club et al. Press Release
Sierra Club Complaint for Clean Air Act Violations
September 2, 2010, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of TX, Texarkana Division
Alleged Martin Lake pollution violations focus of lawsuit
September 3, 2010, Longview News-Journal
Luminant Sued by Sierra Club Over Coal-Fired Texas Power Plant's Pollution
September 2, 2010 by Andrew M. Harris, Bloomberg
Sierra Club sues east Texas coal-fired power plant
September 2, 2010, The Associated Press
See other "Retiring Old Coal" cases.