Who Is Suing Against The New Mercury Rules?

BY ON February 25, 2013

polluting power plants in the winter

The new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, twenty one years in the making, became law after a vicious battle on December 16th, 2011. However, now the rule is being contested in courts. This means many more years of mercury and other toxins being spewed into our atmosphere.

Who is suing to protect their right to spew toxins into our air? Coal-fired power plants, of course. Hiding behind the face of industry coalition groups–the secretive Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) and the misleadingly named American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE)–some of the worst polluting utilities are suing to stop the rules.

Of the top 25 mercury emitting coal plants — the absolute worst of the worst mercury polluters in our country — 16 of them are suing our government for the right to continue to spew mercury into our air, unchecked.

These coal plants are involved in the lawsuit through their owner’s membership in ACCCE and/or UARG (see above). They are listed in order of how much mercury they emit, with the worst polluter listed first. The company that owns the plant is listed next, followed by its membership in ACCCE and/or UARG.


  • Martin Lake (TX) – Energy Future Holdings  [ACCCE]
  • EC Gaston (TX) – Southern Company  [ACCCE & UARG]
  • Big Brown (TX) – Energy Future Holdings  [ACCCE]
  • Monticello (TX) – Energy Future Holdings  [ACCCE]
  • Sandow (TX) – Energy Future Holdings  [ACCCE]
  • Labadie (MO) – Ameren  [ACCCE]
  • Monroe (MI) – DTE Energy  [ACCCE & UARG]
  • Pirkey (TX) – American Electric Power (86%)  [ACCCE]
  • Bruce Mansfield (PA) – FirstEnergy  [ACCCE & UARG]
  • Navajo (AZ) – Salt River Project (22%)  [UARG]
  • James H. Miller Jr. (AL) – Southern Company (96%)  [ACCCE & UARG]
  • Independence (AR) – Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp (35%)  [ACCCE]
  • White Bluff (AR) – Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp (35%)  [ACCCE]
  • Welsh (TX) – American Electric Power  [ACCCE]
  • Greene County (AL) – Southern Company  [ACCCE & UARG]
  • John E. Amos (WV) – American Electric Power  [ACCCE]

So who are the electricity companies that own these worst polluters? Chances are, they are delivering electricity to your home, or to the homes of your friends and family.

These utilities, listed below, are suing the EPA through their membership in the industry coalition groups UARG and/or ACCCE. (ACCCE is suing the EPA as a member of the Midwest Ozone Group). They are among dozens of utilities that are trying to dismantle the new mercury rules. The dubious distinction of the eight listed here is that they own and operate some of our nation’s very worst mercury polluters.


  • American Electric Power (AEP): Serves AR, IN, KY, LA, MI, OH, OK, TN, TX, VA, and WV. Headquarters: Columbus, OH.
  • Ameren: Serves IL and MO. Headquarters: Collinsville, IL, and St. Louis, MO.
  • Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp (AECC): Serves AR. Headquarters: Little Rock, AR.
  • DTE Energy: Serves MI. Headquarters: Detroit, MI.
  • Energy Future Holdings: One of its subsidiaries, Luminant, is a member of ACCCE. Serves TX. Headquarters: Dallas, TX.
  • FirstEnergy: Serves OH, PA, NJ, WV, VA, and MD. Headquarters: Akron, OH.  
  • Salt River Project: Serves AZ. Headquarters: Tempe, AZ.
  • Southern Company: Serves AL, GA, FL, MS. Headquarters: Atlanta, GA.

Membership in UARG is difficult to ascertain. UARG rarely discloses its members – and does not maintain a website. UARG has not disclosed its members since 2006, in comments submitted to EPA. Our list is based on that 2006 information, so it may not be entirely up-to-date.

Click Here to View a Timeline: The Long Journey of the Mercury Rule

Thank you to the Environmental Defense Fund’s Shannon Smyth for her input on this resource.

TOPICS: Coal, Mercury Poisoning