A former coal mine owner is accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of dismantling a once booming industry that once employed millions of people and produced more than $1 trillion in revenue.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday, Andrew McIlroy said his company, Westinghouse, had invested heavily in an old coal mine in Tennessee that was slated to become the world’s largest wind farm.
The EPA is not the only agency that has come under fire for what critics say is its lax enforcement of federal environmental regulations.
McIlroy, who worked for the company until 2010, alleged that the agency’s enforcement of Clean Air Act regulations was being used to weaken the industry.
He said the agency had recently ordered companies to pay a penalty of up to $2 million to companies that had not complied with Clean Air Acts standards, and had also issued more than 1,200 fines for companies that did not provide proof that they had obtained the required permits for wind power plants.
McIlrow said he and his wife spent more than a decade building the Windmill of the Future in Tennessee and had invested millions of dollars in the project.
He said that the EPA has now ordered Westinghouses to pay the company a penalty and ordered the company to make an annual “clean air” report to show the amount of carbon dioxide it has emitted.
Westinghouse has said the amount it has used in Tennessee for renewable energy production is between $100 million and $1 billion and that it is a cleaner source of electricity than coal.
The company also said the cost of the project has been $2.5 billion.
Westinghouses has said that it has a plan to move its operation to China.