Sherco coal plant is the largest single source of air pollution in Minnesota. Each year it emits approximately 16,000 tons of nitrogen oxides and 25,000 tons of sulfur dioxide into the air. Between 2002 and 2004 two of Sherco’s three coal boilers caused or contributed to visibility impairment in the Boundary Waters on 230 days and at Voyageurs National Park on 165 days. The same pollution that causes haze and smog in these parks also impacts public health. According to data compiled by the National Parks Conservation Association, health impacts from the plant include 91 premature deaths, 1,600 asthma attacks, and 12,062 lost work days in 2010.
In September 2009, MCEA and others petitioned the Federal Land Manager to certify Sherco as reasonably attributable to visibility impairment (RAVI) in these national parks. The Federal Land Manager agreed and certified Sherco as RAVI. A RAVI certification requires EPA to determine best available control technology (BART) to reduce the smog and haze-causing pollutants that the plant emits.
Two and half years after the RAVI certification, EPA still had not acted, and MCEA and partners issued a notice of intent to sue. EPA still failed to act in the following six months, and therefore MCEA and co-plaintiffs filed a suit which is currently pending in the U.S. District Courts for Minnesota.
Notice of Intent to Sue
Sherco RAVI BART Complaint
Sherco Complaint Exhibit A
Sherco Complaint Exhibit B
Sherco Lawsuit Press Release (12/05/2012)
Press Release: Clean Air Groups call on EPA to require Clean up at Minnesota’s Dirtiest Coal Plant
Green groups threaten EPA with lawsuit, Minnesota Public Radio, May 9, 2012
Clean Air Groups call on EPA to require Clean up at Minnesota's Dirtiest Coal Plant, National Parks Conservation Association, May 9, 2012