FirstEnergy to Pay $50K to End Suit
Morgantown Dominion Post
2 May 2012
FirstEnergy said Tuesday it will pay $50,000 to settle a federal
lawsuit brought by three West Virginia environmental groups
accusing the utility of arsenic pollution from a coal-ash dump at
its Albright power plant.
The Ohio-based utility and its Mon Power subsidiary don’t admit to
any of the allegations, said spokesman Mark Durbin, but they have
agreed to end litigation over the plant that’s set to shut down
The Sierra Club, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and the
West Virginia Rivers Coalition sued FirstEnergy and its Mon Power
subsidiary in May 2011 over the site, located above the Cheat
River in Preston County.
The lawsuit said the utility should be fined nearly $9.4 million
for federal Clean Water Act violations that the groups said were
harming three trout and recreational streams that flow into the
Mon Power has denied being out of compliance and said the state
Department of Environmental Protection has never enforced the
permit standards it was accused of violating.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley granted a joint motion
that the proceedings be put on hold while the formal terms of the
settlement are put in writing. The proposed consent decree was not
on file with the court Tuesday, but Durbin said it will require
FirstEnergy to pay $45,000 to The Mountain Institute and $5,000 to
the U.S. Department of Justice.
A spokesman for the Sierra Club said the consent decree should be
filed by the end of the week but declined further comment.
FirstEnergy will also cover the groups’ legal fees. Durbin said
that resolves all civil claims.
Albright is one of nine FirstEnergy plants the company had
previously announced it would shut down this fall.
“At that time, the plant won’t be generating any more
coal-combustion byproducts,” Durbin said, “so there will be no
disposal issues going forward.”
The Albright plant has been disposing of fly ash since the
mid-1950s, and the current disposal site is its second.