The Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency have filed suit in federal court in Pittsburgh against current and former owners and operators of the coal-fired Homer City Generating Station in Indiana County for violation of the Clean Air Act. The power plant is operated by EME Homer City Generation L.P. and owned by 8 limited liability corporations. Prior owners Pennsylvania Electric and New York State Electric & Gas were also cited in the complaint.
E.P.A. spokeswoman Bonnie Smith says the owners and operators violated the Clean Air Act by making major modifications to the boiler units at the plant without obtaining the required permits and without installing the best pollution controls....
"If a power plant installs best available control technology, they would be using scrubbers that could reduce as much as 95% of the sulfur dioxide and particulate emissions coming out of a stack, coming out of a power plant."
Smith says in 2009 the Homer City plant emitted 96,000 tons of sulfur dioxide...
"If you removed 95% (from the Homer City plant) , you would be reducing by 1% all of the sulfur dioxide emitted in the United States."
The E.P.A. is asking federal court to force the owners and operators to comply with the Clean Air Act and apply for the proper permits. Smith says their penalty policy would allow for fines ranging from $27,000 to $37,000 per day over the course of several. If those fines are sought and granted, they could total in the tens of millions of dollars.
A spokesman for Edison Mission Energy told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the violations occurred before the current owners bought the plant in 1999.
However, the lawsuit also lists violations from March 2004 till the present.