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
"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.