Citizens Sue Waste Coal Plants

Residents of Robinson Township in Washington County say they plan to sue to stop construction of a waste coal power plant in their area. The Allegheny Front's Lisa Ann Pinkerton Reports this is just the latest development for the controversial power plant just south of Pittsburgh.

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OPEN: Residents of Robinson Township in Washington County say they plan to sue to stop construction of a waste coal power plant in their area. The Allegheny Front's Lisa Ann Pinkerton Reports this is just the latest development for the controversial power plant just south of Pittsburgh.

The largest pile of waste coal east of the Mississippi would be the fuel for the proposed Beech Hollow Wast Coal Power Plant. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says acid run off from the pile is badly impairing water quality in Washington County and using the pile as an energy source is a good solution.

But resident's living nearby are more concerned with the air pollution the plant could produce. They say DEP approved the plant one day before tougher federal air quality standards went into effect. Almost 2 years later, these citizens - backed by the Environmental Integrity Project and the Sierra Club-say they plan to sue Robinson Power Company because it has yet to submit a construction schedule. The Sierra Club's Tom Wolper says, the schedule has to prove the plant can be built by 2010, otherwise the company will have to apply for a new permit.

WOPLER: The standards especially for mercury and small particulates have changed since they got their permit so they would have to put in more pollution controls.

Helen Humphrys, is a Spokeswoman for DEP. She says the ageny's permitting process allows for some leeway.

Humphry's: A single violation doesn't mean that a permit or a plan approval is pulled. There are alot of things that are weighed.

Humphry's says DEP has accounted for air quality concerns and has required the plant be built with the best pollution control technology available.

In addition, another waste coal plant- this one in Greene County- is being sued by the Sierra Club, along with the local group GASP. They say Wellington Development had until the end of 2006 to begin construction on its facility or lose its permit. This suit claims several aerial photographs prove no construction has begun.

For the Allegheny Front, I'm Lisa Ann Pinkerton.