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EPA investigating an east valley power plant over alleged violations of the Clean Air Act

The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating an east valley power plant over alleged violations of Clean Air Act rules.

Local nonprofit Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability says the Desert View Power plant in Mecca allegedly exposes toxic air pollutants to the nearby community. The organization is looking for long-term solutions.

Leadership Counsel policy coordinator Mariela Loera has been meeting with people living near the plant to inform them of the alleged violations, which they say include high levels of mercury and carbon monoxide.

"Unfortunately, the communities and residents around the plant are already impacted by a number of other environmental and social and justices and severely underserved," said Loera. "The main role that we're playing is trying to make sure that the community is aware of what's happening."

The Desert View Power plant received a notice of violation in June 2022 from the EPA regarding "hourly exceedances and stack tests."

A spokesperson from the plant sent the following statement:

Greenleaf Power acquired and has since 2011 operated Desert View Power (DVP), a net-45 megawatt woody biomass electrical generation facility located in the eastern Coachella Valley.

On June 22, 2022, DVP received a Notice of Violation (NOV) from the US EPA regarding alleged violations for hourly exceedances and stack tests. Since that time, DVP has conducted an extensive internal review of the NOV, including through retention of a third-party consultant. Following that review, DVP has engaged with EPA to review key technical and related information, and those discussions are continuing.

DVP continues to work with EPA towards a mutually acceptable resolution of the NOV. DVP likewise continues to work with EPA and other stakeholders to assure current and ongoing compliance with applicable permit limits.

- Desert View Power spokesperson

Leadership Counsel's staff attorney Perry Elerts has communicated with the EPA regarding the investigation.

"We want to see justification and a remedy for this community. We want to see possibly tree planting and asthma clinic, whatever residents bring up to remedy the situation for all the pollution they've had to suffer with," said Elerts.

The Leadership Counsel is also asking for transparency from the EPA.

"The community definitely should be aware of enforcement actions that are being taken near and around them," said Elerts. "We're sort of waiting on EPA to make a decision and get back to us of if they're gonna bring an enforcement action or not. It's kind of-- the ball is in their court."

The Leadership Counsel is inviting community members to its next meeting Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 5:30 p.m. at the Mecca Community Center to discuss the alleged violations. 

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.


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