New York state and Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) plan to sue Homer City Station, a 1,884-MW coal-fired power plant in Pennsylvania, for its alleged contributions of the region’s sulfur dioxide emissions.

New York’s Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and PADEP allege that the current and former owners of the power plant disregarded provisions of the Clean Air Act (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. Issuing a 60-day notice of intent to sue, as is required by the CAA, Cuomo and PADEP said in a statement that 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.

Cuomo said that 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,” he said. “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—and its operator, EME Homer City Generation LP. The plant’s past owners include: Chestnut Ridge Energy Co.; Mission Energy Westside Inc.; Pennsylvania Electric Co.; and New York State Electric & Gas Corp.

Source: Office of the Attorney General of New York