King Coal Sues

Coal Company Tries to Pull a Fast One

Written by Green Chip Stocks
Posted April 25, 2012 at 7:29PM

PPL Montana’s Colstrip coal power plant started operations in the ‘70s and ‘80s.  It was a massive project that was exempted from some regulations of the Clean Air Act due to its older equipment.

Once it was upgraded, it would have to begin following the regulations.

Today, some thirty years later, the Montana Environmental Information Center and the Sierra Club have requested information about the plant and what improvements have been made since the start of its operation.

But when the Environmental Protection Agency made the decision to release the information, PPL Montana sued.

The company claims the information is confidential, and if the EPA releases the information it could harm the business.

Its coal plant, officials said, meets Clean Air Act sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions standards.

The EPA claims the right to release the information under the Freedom of Information Act, but PPL’s lawsuit says it would hurt the company from a competitive standpoint.

The information “would allow [competitors] to vie for the market share through aggressive pricing and to strategically time and improve their own capital improvement processes, all to PPL Montana’s detriment.”

Anne Hedges, director of the Montana Environmental Information Center, wasn’t having it:

“How upgrades to a facility that occurred years ago can be confidential information is beyond me, and it appears that the EPA doesn’t agree with PPL, either.  Let’s expose them to the light of day.  If they are in compliance with the law, great, if not, they should be held to the same standards.”

And we can only wonder what the coal plant is hiding.  The lawsuit came only after the EPA informed PPL that it determined the information was not confidential.

As long as they’re standards meet requirements, they should have nothing to fear.