Allegheny Energy found not liable for alleged Clean Air Act violations

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A federal judge today ruled in favor of Allegheny Energy and against the state Department of Environmental Protection and four other states in a nine-year-old Clean Air Act lawsuit.

The state agencies had accused Allegheny Energy of modifying and operating power plants without permits, and reconstructing two units without limiting emissions. The DEP also accused Allegheny Energy of failing to abide by state emissions limits and failing to apply "best available technology" standards to its projects.

The claims by the DEP, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and New York focused on the Armstrong Plant in Washington Township, Armstrong County; the Hatfield's Ferry Plant in Greene County; and the Mitchell Plant in Courtney, Washington County.

The claims were the subject of an 11-day bench trial held in 2010 before the late U.S. District Chief Judge Gary Lancaster. He never issued a decision. New U.S. District Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti reviewed the record. She found that time bars and jurisdictional limits eliminated some of the states' claims, and the projects referenced were routine and therefore not subject to regulations on new pollution sources.

Judge Conti found "that defendants are not liable to plaintiffs on any claim," she wrote in her 58-page findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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