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Salem Power Plant to be Sued $1M Over Alleged Emissions Violations

SalemHarborStationConservation Law Foundation (CLF) plans to file a lawsuit (PDF) against power utility Dominion Energy New England over alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at the coal- and oil-fired Salem Harbor Station power plant in Salem, Mass., reports Boston Business Journal.

If successful, the suit would hold Dominion responsible for paying millions of dollars in penalties retroactively for violations of the smokestack emissions limits, says CLF.

According to Salem News, CLF is seeking more than $1 million in penalties against the plant owner, Dominion Energy New England.

The foundation sent the 60-day notice in a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson and others, reports Boston.com.

The advocacy group says Dominion’s quarterly reports showed that Salem Harbor violated smokestack emissions limits nearly 300 times between January 2005 and April 2009, reports Boston.com.

The EPA has cited several power plants for violations of the Clean Air Act over the past six months including Westar Energy, Duke Energy and Kentucky Utilities Company.

Purchased by Dominion in 2005, the Salem Harbor power plant has a generating capacity of 745 megawatts, with roughly half of the electricity generated from coal and half from oil, reports Boston Business Journal.

CLF says that the group, along with residents of Salem and nearby communities, has fought for two decades to force Dominion, and before them the prior owners of the plant, to clean up or shut down Salem Harbor Station. The group says the plant has a long history of violations related to its coal-burning operations, repeatedly exceeding legal limits on the discharge of known pollutants including mercury, coal ash and soot.

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