11th Circuit Upholds EPA Ruling on Power Plants

     ATLANTA (CN) – The Environmental Protection Agency is not required to challenge permits issued to the Georgia Power Company, even if the agency previously accused the company of violating the Clean Air Act, the 11th Circuit ruled.

     The ruling rejects a bid by the Sierra Club and the Coosa River Basin Initiative to force the government to issue objections to the permits granted for the company’s Bowen and Scherer coal-fired power plants.
     The petitioners urged the EPA to formally object to the permits, citing a violation notice and civil complaint the agency filed against Georgia Power to force compliance with certain provisions of the Clean Air Act.
     Judge Black said the former actions do not require the government to challenge the permits.
     “A violation notice and civil complaint are merely initial steps in an enforcement action and do not, by themselves, inevitably trigger the EPA Administrator’s duty to object” under the Act, the judge wrote.

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