Fear of Harm from Presence of Pollutants that “Could Cause Harm” Constitutes Injury-in-Fact for CAA Standing
Last week, a federal court in the Central District of Illinois held the owner and operator of a coal-fired power plant liable for violations of the Clean Air Act for exceeding particulate matter emission thresholds in the plant’s state operating permit. NRDC v. Ill. Power Res., LLC, No. 13-cv-1181, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111976 (C.D. Ill. Aug. 23, 2016). The court found that the plaintiffs—three environmental advocacy organizations who filed suit under the citizen suit provision of the CAA—had standing to sue the plant because certain of their individual members suffered injury-in-fact where emitted pollutants that “could cause harm” were present in the witnesses’ general geographic area and the witnesses’ pleasure was somehow diminished by the presence of the pollutants, even where the witnesses could not point to an objective effect of the alleged violation.