D.C. Areas's Mirant Chalk Point Power Plant Sued For Clean Air Act Violations

Jun 29, 2009

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) and four Maryland residents have filed a federal lawsuit against Mirant Chalk Point, LLC, the operator of the coal-fired power plant located on the Patuxent River at Swanson Creek in Prince George’s County in the Washington, D.C. area, and its parent company, Atlanta-based Mirant Mid-Atlantic, LLC. The complaint alleges hundreds of violations of the Clean Air Act related to the plant’s combustion of residual fuel oil without required pollution controls to reduce harmful particulate matter pollution. The lawsuit filed by the law firm of Villari, Brandes and Kline and the Environmental Integrity Project in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Baltimore on behalf of CCAN, three residents of Mechanicsville, MD., and one resident of Accokeek in Prince George’s County seeks to stop ongoing violations of the Clean Air Act at the Chalk Point power plant. The lawsuit states that the Chalk Point power plant operators have repeatedly burned dirty, less expensive residual fuel oil without legally required pollution controls to limit harmful particulate matter pollution, which has had, and will continue to have, significant adverse public health impacts as well as other adverse environmental impacts.

A 2006 Harvard School of Public Health study shows that particulate matter pollution from the Chalk Point plant has negative health impacts on individuals living within a 400 km radius of the Chalk Point plant. Numerous scientific studies link exposure to particulate matter pollution to increased respiratory problems, such as irritation of the airways, coughing, and difficulty breathing; decreased lung function; aggravated asthma; development of chronic bronchitis; irregular heartbeat; heart attacks; and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.