PORTLAND, ORE. – Portland General Electric’s coal-fired plant in Boardman emits more mercury and smog-causing gases than allowed by the Clean Air Act and state laws, the Sierra Club claims in Federal Court. PGE and its co-owners modified the plant to increase polluting emissions but failed to report it to environmental agencies, says the complaint.
“PGE Boardman has repeatedly exceeded the federal New Source Performance Standards opacity limits … including thousands of times in the last five years,” the lawsuit states.
PGE owns the plant with Idaho Power, Power Resources Cooperative and BA Leasing BSC LLC.
The Sierra Club, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Columbia Riverkeeper and Hells Canyon Preservation Council seek fines of $27,500 per day per violation before March 15, 2004 and $32,500 per day per violation since that date. They also want the plant shut down unless it is brought into compliance, and $100,000 for projects to improve public health and the environment.
PGE’s 585-megawatt plant is on the Columbia River about 150 miles east of Portland. Its mercury emissions are unmonitored and uncontrolled, according to the Northwest Environmental Defense Center. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s plan would not require upgrades at the plant until 2011 to 2014.
Plaintiffs are represented by Aubrey Baldwin with the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center and George Hays of San Francisco.