Alexandria disappointed over court rulings

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Two courts ruled in Mirants favor last week, making Alexandrias pursuit of closing the Potomac River Generating Station seem futile. Both decisions were handed down on Friday.

First, the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia approved the consent decree entered into by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Mirant, the State of Maryland and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Under this agreement, Mirant would be permitted to increase its production at the Alexandria facility in exchange for reducing overall emissions throughout the region.

It might be good for the region but it is definitely not good for the residents of Alexandria, said City Councilman Paul Smedberg. Thats why we contested this agreement. Also, I believe Maryland got some significant concessions from Mirant as well. VDEQ just hasnt been aggressive in protecting the environment regarding Mirant and SO2 and other emissions at the plant.

The Virginia Supreme Court also denied the citys appeal, upholding an Alexandria Circuit Court ruling that City Council could not use zoning laws to force the plant to close within seven years. The Supreme Court held that the 2004 text amendment, requiring termination of plant operations in seven years, impaired Mirants vested right to use the property for the operation of a power plant in violation of Virginia Code.

We are obviously very disappointed by these two rulings and are considering what our next options will be, said Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille. Our residents can be assured that, whatever we do, it will be done to protect their health.

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