An attorney for two environmental groups says that emissions from a cement plant southwest of Laramie endangered the health of people nearby.
The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance and the Sierra Club sued Mountain Cement last year, claiming that the coal fired plant violated clean air standards thousands of times.
At issue is whether or not more than 15 thousand cases of unusually high emissions occurred within state standards or not. Cement plants are allowed to exceed clean-air limits when they’re being started up, shut down or are malfunctioning.
In US District Court in Cheyenne on Friday, Laramie attorney Reed Zars said that Mountain Cement could not account for all the times the plant’s emissions exceeded the standard for normal operations.
But an attorney for Mountain Cement, James Harris, said that 97 percent of the cases of higher emissions could be attributed to startup, shutdown or malfunction.
Harris said the remaining three percent was permissible under state law.
US District Judge Clarence Brimmer declined to issue a summary judgement, clearing the way for the lawsuit to go to trial.