A federal judge in Michigan on Sept. 4 agreed to combine two Sierra Club lawsuits against the Holland Board of Public Works over coal-fired emissions into one case for trial, and postponed an October trial date to a later time.
The Sierra Club had filed two cases, one in 2008 and the other in 2011, against the city of Holland, Mich., and its Board of Public Works, both relating to the operation and maintenance of the James De Young power plant. The city and the Board of Public Works moved to join the two cases for trial. Plaintiff Sierra Club agreed that there exists a sound basis for consolidating the two cases for trial.
Judge Paul Maloney, sitting in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, on Sept. 4 agreed to combine the two cases and cancelled an Oct. 29 trial date, with the trial to be rescheduled to a date to be determined later.
The Sierra Club claims in part that the city and board have violated, and continue to violate, the Clean Air Act by regularly exceeding limitations on visible emissions (or “opacity”) in the Title V Renewable Operating Permit and in Michigan’s federally-adopted State Implementation Plan for each of its coal fired generating units at the James De Young power plant. James De Young is a coal- and natural gas-fired facility. The Sierra Club is targeting the coal-fired Units 3, 4 and 5. Holland has defended its emissions as being within legal limits.