Clean Air / Legal / Plum Island / Sewage & Stormwater

The best defense is a good offense. (February legal updates)

When it seems like environmental protections are under attack everywhere you look, the best defense can be using environmental laws to their full potential.

Here’s the latest news on legal actions we’re taking to protect the air you breathe, the water you swim in, and the lands you love.

— Roger Reynolds, chief legal director for CFE/Save the Sound

 

Victory for clean air in Quiet Corner

Our action: intervening before the Connecticut Siting Council

Residents of Killingly can breathe a little easier this week! After being told for a third time by state and regional regulators that Connecticut doesn’t need it, NTE Connecticut LLC has backed off its drive to build a new gas power plant on Lake Road in Killingly. Our congratulations to local residents Not Another Power Plant on their great organizing. We’ll remain vigilant to ensure this threat to Connecticut families’ health and our forests doesn’t return.

Plum Island is going to court

Our action: leading federal lawsuit

In January, a federal judge made a crucial ruling: that our case against the Department of Homeland Security and General Services Administration over their handling of the sale of Plum Island can go forward. “We’ll now have the opportunity to present our full case to the court,” said Roger Reynolds, our chief legal director. We look forward to it!

Requiring EPA to act on New York City sewage pollution

Our action: leading federal lawsuit

After we filed an action seeking an order for the EPA to properly measure and regulate sewage pollution from New York City, the EPA sought to stay the action. We fought back and the judge ruled that the lawsuit will go forward. Now that we have this order, we are hoping that EPA will finally act to protect New York residents. But in case they don’t, we have filed a motion asking the judge for a final ruling.

Stopping sewage pollution in Westchester

Our action: Clean Water Act lawsuit

We brought action against Westchester County and 11 municipalities seeking a court order to fix their pipes that are leaking sewage into Long Island Sound. We settled with two municipalities and received preliminary consent orders against the others, and are now completing conversations with the remaining municipalities about deficiencies in their sewer repair and maintenance plans. An early March meeting with all defendants will determine where our legal action will go from there.

A step forward for air in Connecticut v. Pruitt

Our action: joining federal lawsuit

Along with the Connecticut Attorney General and Sierra Club, we got a federal court order requiring Pruitt’s EPA to hold a hearing to determine whether a Pennsylvania coal plant that is polluting New York and Connecticut’s air should install controls. After that ruling, the PA coal plant agreed not to burn coal in the ozone season starting in 2028. Despite this, EPA is still claiming that it doesn’t have to regulate the plant. We’re supporting the Attorney General and DEEP as they participate in a public hearing in D.C. to seek stronger controls.

Clean water around the region

Our action: comments in EPA permit process

Water doesn’t respect state borders, so we look out for issues region-wide that affect the Sound’s health—like the wastewater plant in Springfield, MA that sends bacteria and nitrogen down the Connecticut River. As staff attorney Jack Looney put it, “it is beyond belief” that for 20 years EPA has not required the plant to reduce its combined sewer overflows. We’ve submitted formal comments demanding stricter permits. At our request, EPA will soon schedule a public hearing.

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