Judge Delays Ruling in Coal-Fired Power Plant Trial

News for Immediate Release

Atlanta, GA (December 20, 2007) – Administrative Law Judge Stephanie Howells issued an order today delaying her ruling to affirm or reverse the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s (EPD) decision to issue an air quality permit to Dynegy’s Longleaf Energy Station. Judge Howells cited the complexity of the case and the size of the record as the reason for the delay; she will deliver her ruling no later than January 11.

EPD issued an air pollution permit to Dynegy’s Longleaf coal-fired power plant that failed to restrict adequately health-threatening sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfuric acid mist and total particulate matter emissions. During the 23 day trial, EPD’s own employees could not sufficiently explain how permit limits for harmful soot and smog had been reached. State employees also adopted conclusions proposed by Dynegy verbatim and without independent verification.

“This is definitely a complex case and GreenLaw has stated from the beginning that the EPD did not thoroughly evaluate the proposed plant’s impact on Georgia’s air quality,” said Justine Thompson. “We are still hopeful that Georgia will not be saddled with this ill-advised plant that will lock us into 50 years of excessive pollution and will be a huge step backwards in terms of global warming.”

In June, GreenLaw attorneys, representing the Friends of the Chattahoochee and the Sierra Club, filed a legal suit challenging the Dynegy/Longleaf permit allowing a 1200 megawatt coal-fired power plant to be built in Early County on the banks of the Chattahoochee River south of Columbus. The groups challenged the coal-fired power plant’s permit because it failed to include any limitations for carbon dioxide, a leading cause of global warming.

The permit also failed to set safe emission limits for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and sulfuric acid mist.  Furthermore, particulate matter has been known to cause such human injuries as sudden death, premature birth, lung cancer, lung disease, asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, heart attacks, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic respiratory diseases. Georgia has experienced as many as 946 deaths in a single year attributable to pollution from its 10 existing coal-fired plants.

The Longleaf plant is one of a host of coal-fired power plants proposed by Dynegy across the county; rulings are expected on two Dynegy plants in Nevada and Iowa in the coming weeks. Dynegy has the most proposed coal-fired power plants of any company in the U.S.

Press Release Contacts
Shaz Powell, 404-885-9596 x25
Justine Thompson, 404-659-3122


For more information, news releases, and legal documents visit www.green-law.org(coal article contains final proceedings document as well as original public comments and filing of the case in June).

GreenLaw is dedicated to preventing air and water pollution that endangers human health and degrades Georgia’s natural resources. GreenLaw achieves these goals by providing free high quality legal and technical assistance to environmental organizations and community groups throughout Georgia. For more information, visit www.green-law.org.

The Sierra Club works to protect our communities and the planet. Inspired by nature to contribute and participate, our members and supporters number more than 1.3 million friends and neighbors. The Club is America's oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization. For more information, visit http://georgia.sierraclub.org/.

Friends of the Chattahoocheeseeks to protect the Chattahoochee River and the environment. A multi-state, non-profit organization that opposes any new industry that will adversely impact the Chattahoochee River watershed, it monitors existing industry to ensure that all environmental regulations and safeguards are being adhered to.