The Sierra Club’s suit of Luminant’s Big Brown Steam Electric plant when the EPA elects not to sue may be a sign of the future. It also seems that Sierra Club is suing over the way they wish the rules to be instead of the way the rules are written. According to articles in the Texas Tribune (copied in the NY Times), the new tactic for environmentalists is to directly sue companies when the government doesn’t. The article covers the suit of Luminant’s Big Brown Steam Electric Station in Fairfield, TX. Sierra Club uses company-reported data to come up with violations that TCEQ didn’t find. Some of the “in the weeds” stuff is permit language allowing opacity exceedences during start ups, shut downs, maintenance and malfunctions and newer EPA requirements. Sierra Club apparently doesn’t like the way the permit was written and seeks to enforces its own version.
The sign of things to come? By the way, the Big Brown station is a 2 GW coal plant. The article has the standard “spewing pollution” statement and pictures of polluting stacks that look a lot like condensing water vapor.