On August 21, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, presiding over a Clean Air Act (CAA) enforcement proceeding, granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss several alleged violations of the CAA on the basis that the prosecution of these violations was time-barred. The case is U.S. v. Luminant Generation Company, LLC, and Big Brown Power Company, LLC.
The defendants operate large electricity-generating power plants in Texas, which are subject to the New Source Review requirements of the CAA added in 1977. The government alleged that the defendants modified these plants without the necessary permits and continue to violate the CAA by not having these permits. According to the government, this constituted a “continuing violation” of the law, and the applicable statute of limitations did not apply.
The District Court did not agree; the lawsuit was filed on August 16, 2013, and several of the government’s claims were more than 5 years old when the complaint was filed. Two other claims were dismissed by the District Court (which alleged that the defendants failed to amend a Title V permit or failed to submit a complete permit application) for failure to state a claim.