PennFuture, Environmental Integrity Project Launch Legal Action to Stop Massive Air Pollution from Hatfield's Ferry Power Plant
Local Citizens Under Constant Barrage of Air Contamination
HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture), with the support of the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), today announced that it intends to sue Allegheny Energy for massive air pollution violations at its Hatfield's Ferry plant in Greene County, Pennsylvania. PennFuture sent the legally required 60 days' notice letter to the company, as well as to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), asserting that the plant's air discharges violate the federal Clean Air Act and the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act. This citizen suit is permitted under the law when governmental authorities have failed to enforce the law as required. "It feels like I'm living with a monster," said Charlotte O'Rourke, local resident and plaintiff in the PennFuture case. "We have soot covering our houses and cars, decks and porches, lawns and flowers. I never open my windows - even last summer when my air conditioning broke - and I will only drink bottled water. But most of all, I'm afraid for the children in the area. Who knows what this pollution is doing to their health? Something has to be done - now!" "This plant has an appalling record of pollution," said Charles McPhedran, Senior Attorney for PennFuture. "The plant's own records show that month after month, it spews soot in violation of standards meant to protect the health of its neighbors. This disregard for state and federal law, and for the health of people trying to breathe nearby, must stop." "PennFuture has had to pick up the slack left when the Bush Administration ordered EPA staff to drop investigations of Hatfield's Ferry and other big power plants around the country," said EIP Director Eric Schaeffer. "PennFuture deserves a lot of credit for taking action on what is really a life-and-death matter for Pennsylvania's families." The Hatfield's Ferry pollution violates both federal and state law, persistently exceeding the limits for opacity (visible air contaminants) and particulate matter. Local residents have long complained of the effect of these pollutants on their homes and property, and recently have expressed concerns about their health. Cancer, leukemia and asthma all appear to residents to be diagnosed in the area in larger numbers than would be expected. Under the law, the company and the government agencies have 60 days to develop a plan to correct the violations before a lawsuit can be filed. A copy of the letter to the company is available at http://www.pennfuture.org. PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization that advances policies to protect and improve the state's environment and economy. PennFuture's activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state and federal courts, advocating and advancing legislative action on a state and federal level, public education and assisting citizens in public advocacy. The Environmental Integrity Project (http://www.environmentalintegrity.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to stronger enforcement of existing federal and state anti-pollution laws, and to the prevention of political interference with those laws. EIP's research and reports shed light on how enforcement and rulemaking affect public health. EIP also works closely with communities seeking enforcement of environmental laws.
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