Sierra Club Acts to Curb Air Pollution at Aging Wisconsin Coal Plants
September 15, 2010
On September 9, Sierra Club took legal action to curb air pollution at two of Wisconsin Power & Light’s (WP&L) existing coal-fired power plants. The Club filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that WP&L made modifications to the 200-MW Nelson Dewey and 1,023-MW Columbia coal plants without proper permits or meeting “best available control technology” emissions limits, in violation of the Clean Air Act.
Under the Clean Air Act’s permitting program, a major source of air pollution cannot undergo a major modification without a permit. Over the years, WP&L has made significant changes to the two aging coal plants without applying for the proper permits or installing modern pollution control technologies, allowing the facilities to emit dangerously high levels of air pollutants. These pollutants - particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide - contribute to climate change, respiratory distress, cardiovascular disease, and premature mortality. Nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides also contribute to acid rain, which sterilizes lakes and damages property, crops and forests.
Sierra Club has also petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Wisconsin environmental regulators to reopen the operating permits for the Nelson Dewey plant. In 1998, WP&L grossly underestimated the plant’s sulfur dioxide emissions when it made a significant fuel change to burn petroleum coke at the plant, and the Club is urging the agencies to tighten the facility’s emission limits.
Details and Documents:
Sierra Club Complaint against Wisconsin Power & Light Company
September 9, 2010, In the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
Sierra Club Petition to Reopen the Title V Operating Permits for the Nelson Dewey Plant
September 9, 2010, Before the U.S. EPA and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Sierra Club sues WP&L over alleged coal plant violations
September 13, 2010, Platts
Group sues over pollution controls
September 10, 2010 by Thomas Content, The Journal Sentinel
See other "Retiring Old Coal" cases.