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Court Backs Air-Quality Permit for Plant Operator

(CN) - A Kentucky environmental agency followed state mandates when it granted an air-quality permit to the operator of a coal steam-generating plant in Muhlenberg County, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled.

The court reversed a finding for the Sierra Club, which asked the lower court to remand the permit to the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet for further analysis. Environmentalists said the agency failed to take existing pollutants into account when determining the plant's effects on the surrounding ecosystem.

The Cabinet argued that state regulations do not require the same type of "cumulative" approach found in the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

The appeals court upheld the Secretary of Cabinet's finding that the laws mandate that Thoroughbred Generating Co. provide an "isolated" analysis.

"In this case, the Secretary followed the plain language and meaning of the statute in determining that a 'cumulative' analysis was not the intent of the Legislature," Judge Clayton wrote.

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