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08/19/2013

Luminant details responses to EPA suit over coal plants

Luminant Generation on Monday issued a statement detailing its response to a lawsuit filed Friday by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency. The formal complaint is sealed, but is related to an ongoing legal battle between the Dallas-based company and the EPA over pollution control measures at two coal plants in East Texas. (Here's a link to the Star-Telegram's report in Saturday's paper on the earlier lawsuit.)

Monday's statement by the state's largest electricity generator, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings, says: "We firmly believe that we have complied with all requirements of the Clean Air Act for these two plants and our other generation facilities." It called Friday's lawsuit "the next step in the process which will likely continue for several years." Most of the statement repeats positions taken in the company's various appeals to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals -- that equipment work at the plants that did not significantly increase emissions doesn't require the company to get new permits and install the best available  control technology (BACT). "The EPA claims that certain routine maintenance work involving repairs and replacements of boiler components at Big Brown and Martin Lake (the affected coal-fired plants) required preconstruction permits. We do not believe that the preconstruction permits were required."

The company said it will "vigorously defend ourselves in court" just as it has challenged two previous actions. It also said the complaint was sealed "because EPA chose to include details containing our confidential and proprietary information in the lawsuit." Luminant said the lawsuit does not address mercury emissions. The previous suits have named nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide as the emissions involved.

-- Jim Fuquay

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