Coal-Plant Challenge Is Premature, Court Says

     NEW ORLEANS – Environmental groups cannot stop construction of a coal plant, because a Texas power company has not finished the application process, the 5th Circuit ruled.

     TXU Power plans on building a coal-fired power plant in Robertson County, Texas. Local members of the Clean COALition and Robertson County: Our Land Our Lives took the company to court, claiming the plant would pollute the area with its emissions.
     The residents said TXU violated the Clean Air Act’s preconstruction emissions standards and planned to build the plant without a proper permit.
     The district court ruled that citizens cannot address violations in court when they take place before construction or while the builder is in the process of obtaining a permit. The circuit court agreed.
     “One can hardly be deemed to have violated a ‘condition or requirement of a permit’ simply by filing an incomplete permit application, in response to which a permit may or may not issue,” Judge Dennis wrote.

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