Citizens Sue Indian River Power Plant

by Dave on February 26, 2009


LEWES, DELAWARE, FEB. 26, 2009 – The Delaware environmental watchdog group Citizens for Clean Power (CCP) filed suit today against NRG-owned Indian River Power, LLC, for 6,304 documented violations of the Clean Air Act and its own Title V state operating permit from 2004-08. The group further alleges that without court intervention and meaningful civil penalties, the violations “are likely to continue.”

CCP’s lawsuit alleges that the plant committed ongoing violations of the “opacity standard,” a measure of the density of harmful airborne pollutants such as carbon monoxide, lead, ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter (“criteria pollutants”) discharged in smoke from the stacks of the Millsboro power plant when coal is burned for fuel. The darker the color of the smoke, or opacity, the denser the volume of criteria pollutants.

Under its operating permit, Indian River is required to continuously monitor and submit opacity data quarterly to Delaware’s Division of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC).

The citizen lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Delaware, requests that the court order plant owners to mitigate the environmental damage caused by the previous four years of continuous violations, pay “significant civil penalties” for each violation, and be enjoined from further violations. Under the Clean Air Act, each of the 6,304 violations could incur a maximum civil penalty of $32,500.

CCP spokesperson Patricia Gearity said, “Today, Citizens for Clean Power goes to court to do the job DNREC has refused to do: Obtain compliance with the permit and make the case for penalties that will actually deter a polluter from violating the law.”

CCP’s lawsuit also asks for litigation costs and attorney fees. CCP is represented by the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Law Center, Wilmington, Delaware.

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