Va. judge nixes permit for coal power plantBut the ruling isn't as bad as it first appears:
By Larry O'Dell, Associated Press Writer
Richmond, Va. (AP) -- In a victory for environmental groups, a Richmond judge on Tuesday invalidated a permit for a coal-burning power plant being built in southwestern Virginia.
Circuit Judge Margaret Spencer ruled that Dominion Virginia Power's mercury emissions permit for the Wise County plant would have improperly allowed the utility to adjust the limit after the plant is already operating.
Spencer said the State Air Pollution Control Board gave Dominion too much flexibility in complying with the mercury discharge limit, which must be met "irrespective of cost or achievability."
A coalition of environmental groups has been fighting to block the power plant for years, arguing that emissions would harm air and water quality and contribute to global warming. About 42,500 people from across Virginia have signed petitions and sent comments to state and company officials opposing the project, according to the Southern Environmental Law Center.
"This is an important victory for the health and welfare of Virginians," said Cale Jaffe, senior attorney for the law center. "We hope Dominion will take this ruling as a sign that it needs to leave expensive coal-fired power plants in the past and move quickly toward developing sustainable, clean energy sources for a 21st century green economy." [link]
Spencer rejected six other claims raised by the environmentalists and upheld a second permit governing carbon dioxide emissions.
"Dominion is pleased that today's decision upholds virtually all of the conditions in both air permits, which may be the most stringent in the country," the utility said in a written statement. "We expect the remaining issue regarding mercury emissions will be resolved in a manner that will allow the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center to be completed on schedule."
David Clementson, spokesman for Attorney General Bill Mims, said the office would work with its clients to determine the next course of action. Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle said the company believes the problem can be fixed by the air pollution board. Another spokesman, Chet Wade, said the utility would not object to removing the provision that allows adjustment of the mercury limit from its permit.
So the state will modify its permit.
And we'll have that power plant.
Oh, and the environmentalists will go back to court.
And we'll have our power plant.