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

Oct 05, 2004, 01:00 ET from PennFuture

    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
     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
 ( 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.

SOURCE PennFuture