Enforcing Environmental Laws and Permit Appeals
The Environmental Integrity Project regularly takes legal actions against big polluters and government agencies for failing to abide by environmental laws and regulations.
Henrico County’s VA’s Sewage Treatment Plant
EIP and two other environmental organizations filed a federal lawsuit to halt decades of water pollution violations by Henrico County’s sewage treatment plant and sewage collection system, including the release of more than 66 million gallons of raw sewage into the James River in the last five years alone.
- Press Release (December 6, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/clean-water-advocates-file-federal-lawsuit-to-halt-decades-of-violations-by-henrico-sewage-system/
- Federal Lawsuit (December 6, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Henrico-County-lawsuit-12-6-21.pdf
BP Whiting Refinery
A federal judge ruled that the more than century-old BP Whiting Refinery on Lake Michigan, one of the nation’s largest refineries, repeatedly violated legal limits on deadly soot-like particulate air pollution. BP must pay $512,450 in penalties and increase the use of air pollution control systems.
- Press Release (December 2, 2021)https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/bp-to-pay-512450-in-penalties-for-air-pollution-violations-at-refinery-on-lake-michigan/
- Consent Decree (December 2, 2021)https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/BP_Whiting_Third_Amendment_to_Consent_Decree.pdf
Allegheny County Health Department
EIP and a coalition of environmental organizations appealed a decision by the Allegheny County Health Department to grant a permit for the construction of a new gas-fired power plant that would be a major source of air pollution affecting a number of southwestern Pennsylvania communities.
- Press Release (November 4, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/environmental-groups-appeal-permit-allowing-unlawful-air-pollution-in-southwestern-pa/
- Notice of Appeal (November 4, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/2021.11.04-CAC-PennFuture-MWA-Notice-of-Appeal-Papers-with-Permit-0959-I001-for-Invenergy-AEC-final.pdf
On behalf of residents of Port Arthur, Texas, EIP petitioned the U.S. EPA to launch an investigation into whether Texas violated the civil rights of a mostly African-American community by allowing dangerous amounts of air pollution to pour from an industrial plant for years, without any modern pollution controls. In October, EPA agreed to investigate Oxbow Calcining plant.
- Petition Press Release (August 18, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/groups-demand-epa-investigate-texas-industrial-plant-for-civil-rights-violations/
- Petition (August 18, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/2021.08.18_Oxbow-Title-VI-Complaint-Final.pdf
- EPA Letter Press Release (October 15, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/epa-agrees-to-investigate-texas-for-alleged-civil-rights-violations-caused-by-air-pollution-from-port-arthur-plant/
Robinson Power Company, LLC’s Beech Hollow facility
EIP, representing Clean Air Council, appealed the air pollution permit the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued for Robinson Power Company, LLC’s Beech Hollow facility, a large gas-fired power plant proposed for Robinson Township, Washington County. The permit allowed the 1,000-megawatt proposed power plant to emit hundreds of tons of noxious pollutants and millions of tons of climate pollutants annually before DEP canceled it.
- NOI Press Release (July 14, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/beech-hollow-power-plant-air-pollution-permit-appealed/
- Notice of Intent (July 14, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Robinson-Power-NOI.pdf
- DEP termination Press Release (October 1, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/clean-air-advocates-defeat-proposed-western-pa-gas-plant
Hanover Foods Corp.
EIP, on behalf of the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, filed a Notice of Intent to Sue a Pennsylvania food processing plant for significant and ongoing violations of federal and state clean water laws.
- Press Release (June 29, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/environmental-groups-take-legal-action-against-pa-food-company-for-clean-water-violations/
- Notice of Intent (June 29, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-29-Hanover-Foods-CWA-CSL-NOI-w-Attachments.pdf
U.S. EPA and PA Department of Environmental Protection
In May, EIP filed a complaint in federal court demanding that EPA and Pennsylvania end the state capital’s routine piping of millions of gallons of raw sewage and stormwater into the Chesapeake Bay’s biggest tributary. In December, a U.S. District Court Judge criticized the years of delays in efforts by Pennsylvania and EPA to stop chronic sewage overflows.
- Complaint Press Release (May 6, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/clean-water-advocates-take-legal-action-over-harrisburg-sewage-overflows/
- Complaint (May 6, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Harrisburg-CSO-Complaint-in-Intervention_To-File.pdf
- Decision Press Release (December 20, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/judge-criticizes-substantial-delays-in-government-efforts-to-stop-harrisburg-sewage-overflows/
- Decision (December 17, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Harrisburg-CSO-decision-Memo.pdf
BP Whiting Refinery
A federal judge ruled that the more than century-old BP Whiting Refinery on Lake Michigan, one of the nation’s largest refineries, repeatedly violated legal limits on deadly soot-like particulate air pollution.
- Press Release (April 14, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/federal-judge-holds-bp-liable-for-years-of-air-pollution-violations-at-refinery-on-lake-michigan/
- Opinion (April 14, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/BP-decision.pdf
To resolve a pair of federal lawsuits over pollution, Verso Corporation and Verso Luke LLC signed a consent decree with the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, represented by the Environmental Integrity Project, and the Maryland Department of the Environment.
- Consent Decree (April 1, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Verso-Consent-Decree_Executed-3.31.21.pdf
- Press Release (April 1, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/paper-mill-owners-must-pay-650000-penalty-and-clean-up-toxic-black-sludge-polluting-potomac-river/
EIP and eight other organizations and concerned citizens petitioned the U.S. EPA to revoke an air pollution permit for a proposed wood pellet manufacturing plant in Adel, Georgia, and to order the state to correct its practice of issuing certain air pollution permits without the opportunity for public review.
- Petition (March 18, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Final-Petition-Seeking-EPA-Orders-Requiring-Public-Comment-on-Draft-Minor-Source-Air-Permits-RBG-3_18_21.pdf
- Press Release (March 18, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/groups-petition-epa-to-revoke-georgia-wood-pellet-plant-permit/
The owners of the Montour Power Plant signed a settlement agreement with a clean water organization, represented by EIP, that pledges to close a coal ash waste disposal site and donate a 165-acre lake, 640-acre nature preserve, and $1.2 million to conservation efforts.
- Settlement Agreement (March 1, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Montour-Settlement-Agreemetn-2021.03.01.pdf
- Press Release (March 2, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/pa-coal-plant-agrees-to-donate-nature-preserve-and-lake-and-close-ash-dump/
Trump Administration EPA
EIP and three environmental groups sued EPA for the agency’s failure to prevent Texas from issuing air pollution control permits that violate the law by failing to protect public health and by not requiring needed emissions monitoring.
- Lawsuit (January 4, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/2021.01.04-FILED-TX-Title-V-Complaint.pdf
- Press Release (January 4, 2021) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/environmental-groups-sue-epa-for-allowing-texas-to-approve-weak-air-permits/
Goldsmith Gas Plant
EIP and three environmental groups filed a notice of intent to sue a West Texas natural gas processing plant for hundreds of air pollution violations over five years that released thousands of tons of sulfur dioxide, threatening the health of people in the Odessa area.
- Notice of Intent (December 21, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/NOI-Goldsmith-Gas-Plant.pdf
- Press Release (December 21, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/west-texas-gas-plant-hit-with-legal-action-for-over-hundreds-of-air-pollution-violations/
Trump Administration EPA
EIP and eight conservation groups representing millions of people sued the Environmental Protection Agency today over its decision to drastically weaken national standards limiting toxic water pollution, including arsenic and selenium, from coal-fired power plants.
- Lawsuit (November 2, 2020) https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/environmental_health/pdfs/Steam-Electric-Reconsideration-Rule-ELG-Petition-for-Review.pdf
- Press Release (November 2, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/lawsuit-challenges-epa-rollback-of-limits-on-toxic-water-pollution-from-power-plants/
Trump Administration EPA
EIP and seven environmental organizations petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to address unhealthy levels of air pollution in the Permian Basin hub of Ector County, where levels of sulfur dioxide pollution far exceed federal health-based limits.
- Petition (October 22, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Petition-for-Reconsideration_Odessa-Texas-SO2-NAAQS_Oct2020.pdf
- Press Release (September 22, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/groups-petition-epa-to-reduce-air-pollution-from-oil-gas-in-west-texas/
EIP and two other environmental groups sent a notice of intent to sue Jasper Pellets for significant, repeated, and ongoing Clean Air Act violations at its Ridgeland, S.C. wood pellet manufacturing plant.
- Notice of Intent (September 22, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/2020-09-22-Notice-of-Violations-and-Intent-to-Sue-Under-Clean-Air-Act.pdf
- Press Release (September 22, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/illegally-operating-south-carolina-wood-pellet-manufacturer/
Trump Administration EPA
EIP and nine other environmental groups filed lawsuits against the Trump administration for its unlawful and dangerous rollback of protections from oil and gas methane pollution, and asked the court to suspend changes to the methane pollution standards to prevent irrevocable harm to human health and the environment.
- Press Release (September 15, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/environmental-advocates-sue-trump-administration-over-methane-pollution/
Woodville Pellets, LLC
The Environmental Integrity Project and Lone Star Legal Aid filed a lawsuit in federal court against a wood pellet manufacturing plant about 90 miles northeast of Houston for violating the Clean Air Act and emitting hundreds of tons of illegal VOC pollution and dozens of tons of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) per year.
- Complaint (August 18, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Woodville-Pellets-Complaint-Filed.pdf
- Press Release (August 18, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/environmental-groups-sue-texas-wood-pellet-plant-for-toxic-emissions/
D. & L. Coal Company
The Environmental Integrity Project, the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, and Appalachian Mountain Advocates sent a notice of intent to sue to the D. & L. Coal Company of Keyser, W.V., for violating the Clean Water Act by allowing stormwater contaminated with coal waste to pour into the North Branch of the Potomac River at a coal loading operation in Mineral County, W.V.
- Notice of Intent to Sue (July 16, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2020-07-16-DL-Coal-Beryl-Coal-Tipple-CWA-NOI-w-Attachments.pdf
- Press Release (July 16, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/clean-water-advocates-take-legal-action-against-coal-pollution-in-potomac-river/
Trump Administration EPA and Army Corps
The Environmental Integrity Project, representing four other environmental groups, filed a complaint asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to vacate EPA’s rewritten “Waters of the U.S.” rule — known as the Navigable Waters Protection rule — because it is “arbitrary, capricious, and otherwise not in accordance with law.”
- Complaint (June 25, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020.6.25-Plaintiffs-Complaint.pdf
- Press Release (June 25, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/environmental-groups-file-legal-action-against-epa-and-army-corps-for-unlawful-interpretation-of-clean-water-act/
Trump Administration EPA
The Environmental Integrity Project and nine other environmental organizations sued the EPA over its failure to reduce toxic air pollution from the flares on petrochemical plants, gas processing facilities, and other industrial sites. EPA has not updated the air pollution control standards for industrial flares in 34 years, even though the federal Clean Air Act requires that agency review them at least once every eight years to make sure they adequately protect the public and incorporate improvements in technology, according to the notice.
- Lawsuit (October 29, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2020.10.29-NSPS-NESHAP-Flare-Standards-Complaint-FILED.pdf
- Press Release (October 29, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/environmental-groups-file-federal-lawsuit-over-air-pollution-from-industrial-flares/
On May 28, Maryland’s Attorney General filed a federal lawsuit against the owners of a former paper mill site near Luke, in Western Maryland, that has been leaking a toxic black waste liquid into the North Branch of the Potomac River. The action was inspired in part by an investigation and legal action by the Potomac Riverkeeper Network and their attorneys at the Environmental Integrity Project.
- Notice of Intent to Sue (Nov. 19, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2019-11-19-Signed-Luke-Paper-NOI-RCRA-ISE-with-Attachments-for-web.pdf
- Federal Lawsuit (May 28, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/MDE-Potomac-lawsuit-against-Verso-over-black-liquor.pdf
Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals
The Environmental Integrity Project, the Clean Air Council, and Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals reached a settlement on an air quality permit appeal before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (Docket No. 2018-057-L). The settlement, a major victory for clean air in the Delaware Valley, calls for the retirement of 53 tons of volatile organic compound (VOC) Emission Reduction Credits.
- Settlement (April 07, 2020) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Plan-Approval-23-0119H-Stipulation-of-Settlement-FINAL.pdf
Trump Administration EPA
Twelve conservation and community groups, representing millions of people, sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its decision not to update national standards restricting water pollution from slaughterhouses. The Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice filed the lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond on behalf of Cape Fear River Watch, Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity, Comite Civico del Valle, Environment America, Food & Water Watch, The Humane Society of the United States, and Waterkeeper Alliance.
- Lawsuit (Dec. 18, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/slaughterhouse-lawsuit-12.18.19-1.pdf
James Lake Gas Plant
A settlement of a lawsuit challenging unpermitted flaring under the Clean Air Act, filed by the Sierra Club, represented by the Environmental Integrity Project, from the James Lake Gas Plant in West Texas has secured penalties and significant pollution reductions for a plant that state and federal regulators have failed to address.
- Complaint (Dec. 3, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/JLMComplaint.pdf
- Notice of Lodging Consent Decree (Dec. 3, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/NoticeofLodgingConsentDecree.pdf
The Environmental Integrity Project, on behalf of Clean Air Council, filed a lawsuit against U.S. Steel for continually failing to report releases of hundreds of thousands of pounds of hydrogen sulfide, benzene, and other hazardous pollutants into the air from three of its Mon Valley Works plants.
- Complaint (August 26, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/US-Steel-Clairton-Complaint-FINAL-8.16.19.pdf
- Notice of Intent to Sue (May 2, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019.05.02-U.S.-Steel-CERCLA-NOI-FINAL.pdf
- Press Release (August 26, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/groups-file-lawsuit-against-u-s-steel-for-not-reporting-releases-of-hazardous-pollutants/
Brunner Island Generating Station
The Environmental Integrity Project, on behalf of the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, Waterkeeper Alliance, and PennEnvironment filed a notice of intent to sue Talen Energy on August 28, 2018 for violating the Clean Water Act, which triggered the involvement of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to reach an historic federal judicial settlement. The settlement also resolved a permit appeal, filed by EIP on behalf of the same clients in September 2018.
- Consent Decree (July 31, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Brunner-Final-CD.pdf
- Complaint (July 29, 2019)https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Brunner-Island-complaint-7.31.pdf
- Notice of Intent to Sue (August 28, 2018)https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Brunner-Island-notice-of-intent-8.29.pdf
- Press Release (July 31, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/historic-coal-ash-cleanup-agreement-brunner-island/
Trump Administration EPA
The Environmental Integrity Project and the Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration over sweeping changes to how the Environmental Protection Agency handles public-records requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
- Complaint (July 24, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019-07-24-19-2198-FOIA-Rule-Complaint.pdf
- Press Release (July 24, 2019) www.environmentalintegrity.org/news/lawsuit-challenges-political-meddling-in-epa-public-records-changes/
The Environmental Integrity Project and the Southern Environmental Law Center represented Clean Air Carolina in a challenge to Enviva’s state permit. Enviva eventually agreed to install air pollution-reducing equipment at a biomass plant under construction in Richmond County, North Carolina.
- Settlement Agreement (June 3, 2019)https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/NC-Enviva-settlement.pdf
- Press Release (June 3, 2019) www.environmentalintegrity.org/news/challenge-from-clean-air-groups-forces-nc-wood-pellet-factory-to-install-pollution-controls/
The Environmental Integrity Project and Environmental Advocates, representing Communities for a Better Environment, sued Dow Chemical and its successors (Corteva) regarding the Pittsburg Operations plant in Pittsburg, California, for serious violations of federal hazardous waste laws.
- Notice of Intent to Sue (May 15, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Dow-NOI-Final-05-09-19.pdf
- Press Release (May 15, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/legal-action-against-dow-chemical-for-violating-hazardous-waste-laws/
- Complaint (Dec. 19, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Dow_Corteva-Complaint_final.pdf
Trump Administration EPA
The Environmental Integrity Project, Sierra Club, and Waterkeeper Alliance, represented by Earthjustice, challenged provisions of a 2015 EPA rule that allowed power plants to use outdated, unlined wastewater pits to continue treating some wastewater streams.
- Opinion (April 4, 2019) https://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/2019-04-12%20-%20Opinion%20ELG.pdf
- Press Release (April 15, 2019) https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/court-orders-epa-to-strengthen-rule-on-toxic-power-plant-wastewater/