GreenLaw Submits Comments Opposing Air Pollution Permit for One of Nation's Dirtiest Coal Plants

GreenLaw submitted comments to the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency opposing the  re-issuance Title V Air Pollution Permit for Plant Scherer, a coal fired power plant located near Macon, GA.  A Title V permit is an operating permit.  All major stationary sources of air pollution are required to apply for operating permits under Title V of the Clean Air Act.  Title V Permits must include all emission limitations and other conditions necessary to assure compliance with the Clean Air Act and Georgia laws governing air quality.  A major purpose of the Title V program is to ensure that the public can understand the requirements to which the source is subject and whether the source is meeting those requirements. 

Plant Scherer is Georgia Power Company’s largest coal-fired facility.  It emits more carbon dioxide (CO2) annually than any power plant in the nation.  It emits significant quantities of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which cause smog, and sulfur dioxide (SO2), which causes fine particle pollution that threatens human health.  Both NOx and SO2 cause acid rain.  According to the Clean Air Task Force, Plant Scherer is second in the nation for annual health impacts, causing 175 premature deaths, 125 hospital admissions, and 245 heart attacks.  The Plant is located in an area that is nonattainment for the ambient air quality standards governing ozone and fine particle pollution.  

GreenLaw made a host of comments designed to strengthen and clarify the Draft Permit’s terms.  Among other things, GreenLaw has urged that the permit’s limits and associated monitoring and reporting requirements be strengthened to abate the facility’s contribution to nonattainment of ozone and fine particle pollution standards.  In addition, GreenLaw has objected to numerous provisions in the draft permit that allow the facility to emit excess pollutants during vaguely defined periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction – provisions which would allow the Plant to violate the Clean Air Act with impunity frequently during the five-year permit term.