Justice Deptartment Sues Westar over Alleged Plant Pollution

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The federal government has filed a lawsuit
accusing Westar Energy Inc. of violating federal air quality laws
at one of its coal-fired power plants.

The federal lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Kansas City, Kan., says Westar made major modifications to the Jeffrey Energy Center in St.
Marys over the past decade but didn't update the plant's pollution
control equipment.

Attorneys for the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency claim that the upgrades are required whenever a utility makes significant changes to a power plant.

The lawsuit asks the court to force Topeka-based Westar to install the new equipment and potentially pay millions of dollars in fines.

In a release, Westar defended its record, saying it has invested almost $500 million in recent years to cut its emissions and plans to invest another $1 billion over the next five years.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)