Long overdue air quality permits for six coal-fired power plants were proposed this week by the Pennsylvania Department of Environment (DEP). The Title V permits, required by the Clean Air Act, the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act, and other regulations, are mandatory for major sources of air pollution.
Coal-fired power plant. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)
These permits collect all requirements applicable to the air pollution rules that apply to source in a single document that can be enforced by government and citizens alike. They are an invaluable tool for citizens seeking to understand plant operations and air pollutions rules that protect public health.
"State-of-the-art permits for these coal-fired power plants are essential to protecting the public health," said Earthjustice attorney Charles McPhedran. Earthjustice is representing the Clean Air Council, PennEnvironment and the Sierra Club in the appeal that prompted the state to finally issue the permits.
While air quality permits must be renewed every five years to keep up with changing air pollution requirements, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP") allowed permits for coal-fired power plants across the state to lapse, in many cases for years.
"DEP is finally demonstrating that important pollution control and monitoring requirements are a priority," said Zachary Fabish, an attorney for the Sierra Club. "Citizens have the right to be heard and the right to enforce up-to-date permit terms."
“Public input is the cornerstone of our democratic process, and DEP’s proposed air quality permits will ensure that Pennsylvanians have the critical opportunity to have their voices heard on this pressing issue of air emissions from these power plants,” said David Masur, director at PennEnvironment.
"Pennsylvanian’s deserve nothing less than to have all coal plants in the state following the newest regulatory requirements that are in the best interest of their health," said Joe Minott, Executive Director, Clean Air Council.