Environmental group names coal power group the clean air ‘Villain of the Month’

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2001 – The non-profit Clean Air Trust today awarded its clean air “Villain of the Month” award to the National Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, a group of coal-burning power companies accused of evading the Clean Air Act.

Members of the Council – including the Southern Company, First Energy, and Duke Power – are defendants in high-profile Justice Department anti-pollution lawsuits. (Another financial contributor to the Council, the Tennessee Valley Authority, is facing administrative action by the Environmental Protection Agency for the same sort of pollution violations.)

The Clean Air Trust said the power companies have hired a team of heavy-hitter lobbyists in an effort to weaken enforcement of the Clean Air Act and obtain a pardon for the polluters. The environmental group also said the council persuaded Vice President Cheney to order EPA to review its enforcement policy (and the Justice Department to review the pending lawsuits).

These acts are being accomplished despite public opinion about air pollution, the trust said.

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