The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed the Sierra Club a win yesterday by blocking EnviroPower, LCC from building a coal-fired power plant in southern Illinois. EnviroPower received permits for the plant in 2001 from the Illinois EPA, but failed to commence construction within 18 months of receiving the permits. In a 3-0 vote, the court found that the permits had expired and permanently enjoined the company from proceeding under the 2001 permits.
The court recognized that similar permits issued after 2001 carried more stringent emission standards than the ones granted to EnviroPower. The opinion found that “these [time] requirements help ensure that major emitting facilities comply with up-to-date emissions regulations and do not construct today’s facilities with yesterday’s technology.” Displaying an unforgiving approach towards emissions and a willingness to block coal plant construction, the decision is another strike against the coal-fired power plant industry.