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Clean Air Cities
Hanford Sentinel, November 4, 2011

Federal suit challenges Avenal Power Plant permit

A coalition of conservation and environmental justice groups filed suit with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday to challenge the federal air pollution permit issued for the Avenal Power Plant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA said in May it would not require the project, to be built by Texas-based Macquarie Energy, to comply with current pollution control requirements because the agency took too long to process the permit application. Instead, the agency grandfathered the project from requirements to install the best available controls for greenhouse gases and to show it would not cause unsafe levels of nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide pollution.

The Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, represented by national public-interest law firm Earthjustice, first challenged the permit before the EPA's environmental appeals board in June. On Aug. 18, a panel of three administrative law judges at the board allowed the weaker permit to remain. Thursday's suit seeks to overturn that ruling.

A copy of the petition is available at http://bit.ly/sbokIj.

© Copyright 2011, Hanford Sentinel

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton