June 30, 2008
Court Rules Coal Plant Must Regulate Global Warming Pollution
Richmond, VA: In an unprecedented move today, a Georgia state court has ruled that a new coal plant must limit the amount of carbon dioxide it releases. In April 2007 the Supreme Court issued a ruling recognizing that carbon dioxide, the principal source of global warming, is a pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act. This is the first time any court has applied that ruling to an industrial source.
"Coal-fired power plants emit more than 30% of our nation’s global warming pollution," said Bruce Nilles, Director of the Sierra Club’s National Coal Campaign. "Thanks to this decision, coal plants across the country will be forced to live up to their clean coal rhetoric."
Today’s ruling will have far reaching effects and should influence permits for all new coal-fired power plants, not just those in Georgia. The ruling builds on the momentum started last year by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius’ courageous decision to reject a new coal plant because global warming is a public health threat.
The decision, issued by a Superior Court judge in Fulton County, Georgia, halts the construction of Dynegy’s Longleaf coal-fired power plant. Dynegy is the largest coal plant developer in the country, with more proposed new coal plants than any other company.
As originally permitted the plant would have emitted 9 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. The original permit placed no restrictions on the amount of carbon dioxide the plant could emit.