Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection v. FirstEnergy
Public Justice is co-counsel with the Environmental Integrity Project for Little Blue Regional Action Group, a citizens group in Pennsylvania that is contesting the coal ash disposal practices of FirstEnergy, the owner of the nation’s largest coal ash disposal site, Little Blue Run. The coal ash pond/dump covers 1,700 acres and spans the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border. Public Justice and EIP claimed significant and ongoing violations of the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act, the Clean Water Act, Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law, and other acts/laws. In the State of Pennsylvania’s complaint against FirstEnergy, the state DEP alleged that the dump may present an “imminent and substantial endangerment” to health and the environment, in violation of RCRA. To read Public Justice/Environmental Integrity Project’s Notice of Intent to Sue, follow this link: http://www.environmentalintegrity.org/news_reports/documents/2012_05_30_NOI_FINAL.pdf Following Public Justice and EIP’s threat of legal action, the PADEP in late July 2012 filed the first-ever state lawsuit against a coal ash dump operator for potentially causing an “imminent and substantial endangerment” to human health and the environment. PADEP’s action came 59 days after Public Justice issues its 60-day NOI. As part of its suit, PADEP obtained a consent decree that includes $800,000 in penalties and mandates that FirstEnergy devise a plan to clean up contaminated groundwater surrounding the dump while making plans to fully close Little Blue Run by 2013. On December 20, 2012, EIP and Public Justice sent to FirstEnergy a second NOI for ongoing violations at Little Blue Run: http://www.environmentalintegrity.org/news_reports/12_20_2012.php Public Justice’s Richard Webster is working with EIP’s Lisa Widawsky Hallowell on the case.