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Sierra Club v. Khanjee Holding (US) Inc.

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20275
Nos. No. 09-4008, (7th Cir., 08/24/2011)

The Seventh Circuit upheld a $100,000 penalty assessment against three power plant developers for PSD permit violations at a proposed coal-fired power plant site. The court previously held that the developers' PSD permit expired because they failed to begin construction within the permit's 18-month window for commencing construction. A lower court then imposed a $100,000 civil penalty against the developers. In light of the size of the project ($600 million) and of the potential maximum penalty of $41.7 million, the court agreed with the lower court that a relatively small penalty of $100,000, imposed jointly and severally on all three developers, was reasonable. In addition, the lower court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the environmental group challenging the project was successful on the merits and performed a public service consistent with the CAA's goals. The court therefore affirmed the lower court's award of $375,985.70 in attorney fees and costs.