Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe Intervenes in Environmental Enforcement Action against Blue Lake Power Biomass Plant

BLUE LAKE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On Tuesday, October 11, 2016 the Federal District Court in San Francisco
issued an order allowing the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe to intervene in
the Clean Air Act enforcement case currently pending against the Blue
Lake Power biomass facility in Blue Lake, California. The Tribe has been
opposed to any restart of the facility because of significant air
pollution impacts on the Tribe’s members and the surrounding area.

Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe Energy Director, Jana Ganion, explained the
impact the Blue Lake Power plant has had on the Tribe, “When the
facility is operating our air quality suffers, and the community is
directly and immediately affected. This area has not attained healthful
air quality standards in general and we now know exposure to this type
of air pollution causes acute and chronic health problems and premature
deaths. And the toxic emissions from this plant not only affects humans,
we are also very concerned about Mad River water quality, fisheries,
endangered species, and other environmental impacts.”

The legal action arises out of Blue Lake Power’s violations of the
federal Clean Air Act according to the complaints filed by the U.S. EPA,
the North Coast Air Quality Unified Management District, and the
Tribe. The complaints detail how the Blue Lake Power facility has
violated the Clean Air Act by failing to obtain the proper permits, and
failing to apply the appropriate air pollution control technology to
control CO, NOx, and particulate matter emissions.

The Court’s intervention ruling allows the Tribe to participate in the
enforcement action against Blue Lake Power and to pursue its State law
claims in State Court.

The Court recognized the Tribe’s Clean Air Act claims are timely. In
particular, the Court determined preconstruction permitting violations
cited in the complaints are continuing violations under the Clean Air
Act, based on the structure of the applicable regulations. This ruling
was obtained as a direct result of the Tribe’s intervention and is now a
significant legal precedent for similar cases in California that will
help State and Federal enforcement efforts.

The recent decision of the Court was praised by Blue Lake Rancheria Vice
Chairperson, Arla Ramsey, who said, “The Tribe appreciates the Court’s
recognition of the Tribe’s substantial interest in this matter. The
emissions from this facility have had adverse impacts on the Tribe’s
lands and our members, seventy-five percent of which are children and
elders, who are particularly at risk from the pollution released by the
Blue Lake Power facility. We generally support biomass power, but this
is a specific case of chronic violations by one bad actor and the very
serious health and environmental impacts they have created.” The Tribe
has also petitioned the U.S. EPA to revoke Blue Lake Power’s operating
permit based on the facts of this case and other violations. The
Ecological Rights Foundation has also recently brought suit against Blue
Lake Power for Clean Water Act violations.

The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe has been recognized by the White House as
a 2015-2016 Climate Action Champion and has long advocated for clean
power generation.

Contacts

Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe
Jana Ganion, 707-668-5101 x1044
jganion@bluelakerancheria-nsn.gov