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Citizen Groups Reopen Lawsuit to Stop Zombie Coal Plant

New plant ownership considers reopening harmful, currently shutdown coal plant
December 5, 2013
New York, NY —

Earthjustice, Sierra Club, and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) are moving to revive an earlier lawsuit to ensure that one of New York state’s oldest and dirtiest coal plants, which has been shut down since October 2012, doesn’t reopen under new ownership. The Danskammer Plant, located along the shore of the Hudson River in the town of Newburgh, New York, has been responsible for more toxic pollution than nearly all of the total 646 industrial sites in the state and numerous violations of federal air quality standards. According to EPA data, in 2009, the Danskammer plant dumped more than 1.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Newburgh’s air, land, and water.

The Sierra Club, NPCA, and Earthjustice took action in 2012 to demand modern pollution controls at the plant that would limit harmful air pollution. In December 2012, the plant’s then-owner, Dynegy Inc., announced it was selling the plant in bankruptcy proceedings and the plant would be torn down following its sale. But just last month, new owner Helios Power Capital indicated that it is evaluating the possibility of bringing the plant back into operation.

The following are statements from the groups:

Said Earthjustice attorney Charles McPhedran:
“The Danskammer plant has done enough harm to its neighbors and must not burn coal again. It’s time to bring power generation in New York State into the 21st century.”

Said Oliver Spellman, senior northeast program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association:
“Air quality at Acadia National Parks and other treasured landscapes in the region would benefit greatly from the retirement of Danskammer. It is unfortunate that restarting this polluting operation is back on the table.”

Said Lisa Dix, senior New York representative for the Sierra Club:
“New Yorkers are ready for our state to move beyond coal and invest in clean, renewable energy. Retiring the Danskammer coal plant was an important step in that direction, but bringing the plant back would again put the health of thousands of New Yorker’s at risk—just when they thought they would be able to breathe easier.”

Read today's court filing.

Contacts

Liz Judge, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2007

Kim Teplitzky, Sierra Club, (267) 307-4707

Oliver Spellman, NPCA, (917) 710-8606

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.