Coalition Intends to Sue EPA for Failure to Enforce Clean Water Act at Power Plant

2 Mar

from Milwaukee Riverkeeper

Yesterday, the Cleaner Valley Coalition, of which Milwaukee Riverkeeper is a member, called on the EPA to take stronger steps to clean up pollution at the We Energies Menomonee Valley coal-fired power plant.

Two members of the Coalition – the Sierra Club and its attorneys, Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA), filed a Notice of Intent to Sue the EPA for failing to comply with its duty to ensure that a new water pollution permit is issued for the plant.

The Valley power plant has been operating with an expired water permit since 1987; the expired permit fails to include standards necessary to protect fish and aquatic life and recreation in the Menomonee River. As detailed in a report from the Sierra Club, it is estimated that billions of fish and other aquatic organisms are killed each year by water-intake systems on outdated power plants, including coal-fired power plants like the one in the Valley. Water-intake systems suck in water to cool the power plant, then spew hot water back out into local waterways.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) has been working to revise the permit for years (the Valley’s permit is the longest expired water permit in the country). Milwaukee Riverkeeper and the Cleaner Valley Coalition believe the delay has been way too long.

If the WDNR does not issue a permit in the next few months to address the threat to our waters, then EPA should take immediate action. The EPA has 60 days to respond to the NOI. If it does not respond, or fails to take necessary action during this period, Sierra Club and MEA can proceed to file a lawsuit in United States District Court.

To read the full press release and article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel click here.

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