Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District Appeals Federal Judge's Decision Denying Participation in Lawsuit Against Cinergy Corporation
Friday July 9, 2004
The Air Pollution Control District today asked a federal judge to reconsider his decision to deny Louisville's motion to join a federal air pollution lawsuit against Cinergy's Gallagher Plant in Floyd County, Indiana.
The U.S. District Court in Indianapolis ruled in late June 2004 that the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District has "failed to show, as required, that representation by the current party plaintiffs will fail to adequately represent its interests."
But in today's motion, APCD says that it has the right to join in the suit under provisions in the Clean Air Act (42 USC 7604). According to APCD Director Art Williams, "Improving Louisville's air quality is a public health priority and depends on regional cooperation by all sectors. Reductions in the Gallagher Plant's emissions are a significant part of that regional solution."
If successful, today's action would allow Louisville to join with three other states (New York, Connecticut, New Jersey) and two environmental organizations to demonstrate how the Gallagher plant's emissions significantly contribute to Louisville's air pollution. If District Judge McKinney chooses to continue to reject APCD's motion, an appeal could be filed with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
"We're asking Cinergy to act responsibly on behalf of its customers and residents who are impacted by emissions at its plants," said Mayor Jerry Abramson. "To ensure that, we hope to have a seat at the table as this important litigation moves forward, particularly as we adopt a strategy to improve the air quality of our hometown."
Louisville's Air Pollution Control District petitioned the court in May 2004 to join in the Environmental Protection Agency's 1999 suit against the Cincinnati-based Cinergy Corporation. In its 1999 suit against Cinergy, the EPA and Department of Justice contend that the company violated the federal Clean Air Act by failing to install pollution control devices during expansion projects at six of its plants including the Gallagher facility located across the Ohio River in Indiana.
APCD argues that emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter from the plant contribute to Louisville's air pollution and endanger public health. In April 2004 the EPA classified Louisville as a non-attainment area for ground level ozone. In June 2004, EPA also proposed to find Jefferson County as non-attainment area for fine particulate matter.