LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Four conservation and public health groups sued the U.S. En­vi­ron­mental Protection Agen­cy on Fri­day for approving a permit for a new gas-fired power plant in Palm­dale.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, claims the EPA failed to ade­quate­ly consider requiring clean-en­er­gy alternatives relying on bat­tery storage that would limit fur­ther deterioration of the re­gion’s unhealthy air quality.

“Local residents are con­ten­ding with some of the worst ozone and PM pollution in the coun­try; EPA’s decision allows mas­sive more health-damaging air pol­lu­tion to be spewed into the air we breath,” said Jane Will­iams, ex­ec­u­tive director of Cal­if­or­nia Com­mu­­nities Against Tox­ics. “EPA seems determined to keep the wheels on this highly pol­lu­ting, jal­opy technology.”

EPA rep­re­sen­ta­tives said the agency does not com­ment on pending litigation, but it looks forward to arguing its position before the appellate panel.

The lawsuit was triggered by the EPA’s decision in April 2018 to issue a “prevention of sig­nif­ic­ant deterioration” permit for a com­bined-cycle gas-fired power plant in Palmdale. The “de­ter­i­or­a­tion” permit is required only in areas that already have bad air pollution.

In approving the permit, the agency not only rejected the use of battery-storage technology to re­duce emissions but also failed to accurately account for cu­mu­la­tive emissions in the area, Will­iams said.

The Center for Biological Di­ver­sity, Desert Citizens Against Pol­lution, California Com­mu­nit­ies Against Toxics and Sierra Club appealed that per­mit de­cision to the EPA’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Appeals Board, which upheld the permit.

“The whole point of the air-per­mitting process is to limit new pollution in areas that are al­ready suffering from bad air qual­ity,” said Neil Car­man of the Sierra Club. “By fail­ing to con­sid­er new control tech­nol­o­gies to reduce pollution when it reviewed this permit, EPA ig­nored the very purpose of the program.”

According to the Center for Bio­logical Diversity, air pollution in the region would worsen as a re­sult of the EPA’s approval of the permit.

“It’s appalling that the Trump EPA rubber-stamped more emis­sions that will worsen Southern Cal­ifornia’s air quality,” said Lisa Bel­enky, a senior attorney for the center. “There’s no excuse for ap­prov­ing more dirty fossil-fuel emissions when cleaner, safer tech­nologies are available.”

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.