Transboundary Harm Could Impact A Power Plant Near You

In 2009 The Federated States of Micronesia filed a lawsuit against the Prunerov power station in the Czech Republic stating that pollution from the power station threatens the island's existence – despite the fact the island nation is 8,000 miles away. According to a recent article in Mother Jones (May/June 2010), Micronesia is claiming transboundary harm.

Sound like a literal long shot for Micronesia? Think again. According to a Fox Business article, the Czech Environment Ministry ceded earlier this year to the demands of Micronesia and will be subjected to an  international audit of a planned upgrade of a Czech coal-fired power plant, owned by Czech utility CEZ AS.

The Fox Business article goes on to say that Micronesia's pressure may serve as precedent for similar claims against other power plant operators in the EU seeking to refurbish their existing coal-fired power plants, including those currently in use in Poland and Germany.

Why the long-distance claims? The EU recently adopted regulations allowing any nation in the world to challenge construction, including upgrades, of industrial sites emitting carbon dioxide.

Seán Ottewell, Chemical Processing's Editor at Large, covers the topic at great length in his March 2010 column Transboundary Emissions Battle Looms.

Traci Purdum
Senior Digital Editor