Salem Utility Accused of Emission Offences

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Salem Harbour

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A Boston-based environmental advocacy group is suing Dominion power for alleged pollution emission violations at their Salem Harbour Power station.

In quarterly reports filed by Dominion with the provincial regulator shows the 60 year old oil and coal fired plant violated smokestack emissions 300 times between January 2005 and April 2009.

The Conservation Law Foundation filed a 60 day notice saying it will bring a citizen suit against Dominion under the federal Clean Air Act. The group sent the notice on January 27, 2010 in a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

Dan Genest, spokesman for Dominion said the company will wait to see the lawsuit – if it is filed – and the Conservation Law Foundation’s research before commenting in detail on the group’s allegations. The power station “operates in compliance” with state and federal laws, he added.

“We’re hoping that in the face of these violation, Dominion will decide to shut down the plant,” said Shanna Cleveland. The lawsuit accuses the plant of emitting small particles of chemicals, metals and ash which have been linked to health and environmental problems.

Critics have long questioned how vital the power station really is, especially given the facilities age. It uses a mix of low-sulfur coal and oil to produce electricity for more than 700,000 customers. Dominion has promised to keep the plant open as long as it is profitable. The company is the largest taxpayer in the city of Salem, which collects $4.75 million annually in real estate and other taxes from the facility.

  • Mark Spowart

    A writer and photographer, Spowart has publication credits in Canada, United States, Europe and Norway with such publications as The Globe & Mail, The National Post, Sun Media, Canwest News, and Canada News Wire.

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