Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Feds Expand Suits against Utilities

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Feds Expand Suits against Utilities

Article excerpt

The Justice Department, acting on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), expanded lawsuits against a half dozen utilities accused of making illegal improvements at coal-burning power plants without installing required pollution control equipment.

The March 1 announcement came a day after Tampa Electric Co., one of the utilities in the original lawsuits in November, reached a settlement with EPA that included a $3.5 million fine. In addition, the company will significantly reduce harmful air pollution and invest $10 million in environmental mitigation and short-term pollution control measures as part of a $1 billion renovation of two aging coal-burning power plants.

In November, the government charged that Tampa Electric and six other utilities violated the law by making major modifications to their plants without installing equipment required to control smog, acid rain and soot.

The settlement is unprecedented in its scope and marks a major step forward in EPA's ongoing effort to stop pollution illegally released from coal-fired power plants, EPA Administrator Carol Browner said.

In the more recent Justice Department action, the government added 12 plants to the lawsuits filed against the utility companies. …

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