ATLANTA (CN) – A proposal for Georgia’s first coal-fueled generating plant in more than 20 years is not dead, though Fulton County Superior Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore has rejected an air pollution permit that halts the plant construction.
Michael Vogt, project manager for the LS Power Group and Dynegy plant, said his company, LS Power Group, is preparing an appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals. The outcome may determine whether work will continue on the $2 billion, 1,200-megawatt plant. Construction was slated to begin later this year.
The LS Power Group, based in New Jersey, and Dynegy, based in Houston, are operating as Longleaf Energy Associates LLC for this project.
Friends of the Chattahoochee and the Sierra Club sued Longleaf and the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, successfully challenging the permit to allow the plant to be built in Early County on the banks of the Chattahoochee River south of Columbus.
The environmental groups said the permit set no limit on carbon dioxide emissions. Smog and acid rain are also caused by coal-fired plants, according to the Sierra Club.
Vogt said he was surprised by Judge Moore’s decision, as the process to regulate CO2 emissions “has not been defined.” He said that Moore’s decision means that all companies that use fossil fuels should be on guard.
Citing the Clean Air Act, Judge Moore ruled that the state Environmental Protection Division must limit the amount of CO2 emissions from the plant.
Her decision may have nationwide impact, as it is the first time since the April 2, 2007 Supreme Court decision requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate CO2 emissions that a court has applied that standard to CO2 emissions from an industrial source rather than from motor vehicles, the Sierra Club said.
“I think it’s a scandal that energy companies in the United States are still trying to build dirty coal plants as if global warming isn’t happening,” said Patty Durand, state director of the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club.
“We will now be able to get on with creating green jobs and a renewable energy industry in Georgia instead of allowing out of state energy conglomerates to target one of our poorest counties in a profit-seeking venture that will flood the market with dirty energy.”