A judge denied the University’s motion to dismiss nine out of 10 allegations that the campus’s coal plant violated the Clean Air Act, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The court refused to dismiss claims numbered two through 10, which allege UNC had air-permit violations regarding pollution control, pollution monitoring and noncompliance reporting requirements, the center said in a press release.
The judge has yet to rule on UNC's motion to dismiss the first claim in the suit — which is that UNC burned more coal than its permit allows, Robert Ukeiley, a senior attorney in the center’s environmental health program, said.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed the suit, along with the Sierra Club, against the University. The plaintiffs said UNC's coal plant, known as the Cogeneration Facility, was burning too much coal and that the University was not properly monitoring it. Despite the motion to dismiss being denied this month, the University said it will continue its fight in the suit.
Ukeiley said the denial, handed down by a federal district court judge Oct. 9, means the case will now take one of two paths. He said one potential path for the case is reaching a settlement through mediation, which might only take a couple of months. The other path is for the judge to decide the case, which could take much longer.