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Health and Environmental Groups Announce Intent to Sue Illinois Coal Plant Owners for Violating Clean Air Act
Date:7/28/2009

CHICAGO, July 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being issued by the Environmental Law & Policy Center:

A coalition of Illinois health and environmental groups notified Midwest Generation, LLC of their intent to sue the company because its coal plants release illegally high amounts of particulate matter that leads to respiratory illnesses and premature deaths in nearby communities. The suit follows a number of air pollution-related citations from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against Midwest Generation's coal plants in the state, particularly the Fisk and Crawford Generating Stations located within the Chicago city limits.

The coalition members, Citizens Against Ruining the Environment, The Environmental Law and Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), The Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago and Sierra Club, filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue today, the first step in a Clean Air Act citizen suit. This action brings a new legal development in an ongoing campaign by environmental, health and community groups representing the communities in which the coal plants are located. All of the plants are located in working class and/or minority neighborhoods.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have found that pollution from 9 coal plants in northern Illinois causes 311 premature deaths, 4,100 emergency room visits, and 21,500 asthma attacks annually. Midwest Generation owns coal plants in Chicago, Waukegan, Joliet, Romeoville and Pekin, Illinois.

The potential lawsuit focuses on the coal plants' opacity violations. Opacity is a measurement of the amount of light blocked by particulate matter coming from smokestacks. Particulate matter is fine dust and soot that stays close to the plant and concentrates negative air quality and health effects in nearby communitie
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SOURCE Environmental Law & Policy Center
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