Combined Cycle, Gas, New Projects

Residents File Federal Civil Rights Complaint Against Proposed Maryland Power Plant

Residents of Prince George’s County in Maryland filed a federal complaint last Wednesday contending that a proposed power plant would violate their civil rights.

As reported by The Washington Post, residents in the majority-black town of Brandywine contend that the state’s approval of Panda Power’s Mattawoman natural gas-fired power plant was discriminatory and will disproportionately affect the welfare of their community.

Partnering with environmental advocacy group Earthjustice, local organizations have asked the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Transportation Department to investigate if the site of the new plant will generate excessive pollution in an environmentally sensitive area, The Post reported.The rural area is already the site of two power plants, with another plant planned for construction following the completion of Panda’s project.

“We deserve a healthy quality of life, and we don’t deserve to be disproportionately and adversely impacted in our daily lives as it pertains to air quality, traffic and noise,” Kamita Gray, president of Brandywine BTB, told The Post. “We are asking them to listen to the community about the burdens they are asking us to take on.”

Earthjustice attorney Neil Gormley argues that the state should adopt an inclusive approach in siting the power plant. “It’s part of a pattern of black communities bearing disproportionately the negative impacts that are understood to go along with the siting of a large fossil-fuel plant,” Gormley told The Post.

Federal officials say they will review the complaint.

Last December, activists filed a separate action asking a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge to vacate approval for the plant, The Post Reported.