Front Porch Blog

Supreme Court to Hear Case Involving Duke Power

From the Triad Business Journal:

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it would hear arguments from the Southern Environmental Law Center in a Clean Air Act case against Duke Energy Corp., according to a statement from the Chapel Hill office of the Virginia environmental group….

The Southern Environmental Law Center and the EPA filed suit against Duke Energy alleging the company made major modifications to eight of its coal-fired plants, including Dan River and Belews Creek in the Triad, without installing the pollution controls. Duke Energy made the modifications between 1988 and 2000.

This is only the third time in 35 years that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a request from an environmental group filed without support from the federal government. This decision will be a landmark in regards to how the government can regulate and control corporate polluters in regards to pointsource (smokestack) pollution.

The Herald-Sun gives us some background on “new source review” and the impact that this decision will have on industries ability to pollute our air.

The case involves the Bush administration’s attempts in 2002 and 2003 to rewrite the Environmental Protection Agency’s “new source review” regulations under 1977 amendments to the Clean Air Act.

Those regulations said that older industrial facilities — such as aging coal-fired power plants, refineries, smelters, and chemical and manufacturing plants — must install state-of-the-art equipment if they expand or modernize in a way that results in significantly more air pollution.

And, to no one’s suprise…

Officials with Duke Energy could not be reached for comment.

Dug this up…

Duke spokesman Pete Sheffield said the high court’s review “will help to eliminate the confusion that exists in other courts on these issues.” Other industry observers agreed… “This is an opportunity for the Supreme Court to take a good decision in the 4th Circuit and make it the law of the land,” said Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, which represents electric utilities.

Check out the Southern Environmenal Law Center. They’re awesome.
More from their site:

EPA originally brought this case against Duke Energy as one of a series of lawsuits against nine utilities for Clean Air Act violations at 51 power plants; last summer, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the company. Despite the fact that this ruling threatened to undermine all of the remaining enforcement actions and usher in major rollbacks in air safeguards, the U.S. Justice Department chose not to seek further review and bowed out. SELC, on the other hand, refused to accept defeat and pushed forward with our request to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

We’ll keep y’all posted on this.





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