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Friends of the Earth v. Potomac Elec. Power Co.

Citation: 7 ELR 20090
No. No. 75-0747, 419 F. Supp. 528/9 ERC 1122/(D.D.C., 08/16/1976)

The court grants partial summary judgment for plaintiffs in a citizen suit for declaratory and injunctive relief brought under § 304 of the Clean Air Act. Defendant's power plant in Washington, D.C., has released visible emissions on more than 20 occasions since the currently operating boilers were converted from coal to oil. The District of Columbia's air quality implementation plan prohibits any visible emissions. Defendant incorrectly asserts that this provision has been revlised by a City Council resolution and subsequent discussion between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and District officials, since the proposed revision has not yet been formally approved by EPA. The contention that the visible emissions prohibition is not an emissions limitation which can be enforced by a § 304 citizen suit is also erroneous. Finally, the court rules that in light of the Supreme Court's opinion in Union Electric Co. v. EPA and its own reading of the legislative history, claims of technological and economic infeasibility do not constitute a defense to an adjudication of violation of applicable implementation plan requirements. The court accordingly declares that defendant's plant has violated the visible emissions provision of the D.C. implementation plan.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Neil J. Cohen
Frederic R. Kellogg
Clifton E. Curtis
1523 L St., NW
Washington DC 20005
(202) 628-4195

Richard G. Wise, Asst. Corporation Counsel
District Building
14th & E Streets, NW
Washington DC 20004
(202) 629-3864

Counsel for Defendant
George V. Allen, Jr.
Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge
910 17th St., NW
Washington DC 20006
(202) 296-3888