Conservation Law Foundation and Charles River Watershed Association Receive EPA Environmental Merit Award for Success in Mirant Kendall Power Plant Case

Claire Morgenstern

Karen Wood, CLF, (617) 850-1722
Alexandra Ash, CRWA, (781) 788-0007 ext. 200

BOSTON, MA  May 12, 2011 – Yesterday, the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA)  received an Environmental Merit Award from the New England office of the U.S. EPA in recognition of their exceptional work on reducing discharge of heated water from the GenOn Kendall Cogeneration Plant (formerly known as Mirant Kendall) in Cambridge, MA. The two organizations were part of the Kendall Station NPDES Appeal Settlement group recognized by EPA.

The Environmental Merit Award is an annual award that recognizes outstanding environmental advocates who have made significant contributions toward preserving and protecting our natural resources. The award was presented at EPA’s annual ceremony, held at Faneuil Hall in Boston.

“This is an innovative, energy-generating, and river friendly solution,” said Robert L. Zimmerman, Jr., CRWA’s executive director. “We thank CLF’s Peter Shelley and GenOn for thinking outside the box to reach this settlement, which demonstrates what industry and environmentalists can accomplish when they work together.”

The Kendall Power Plant, a natural gas cogeneration facility located on the Cambridge side of the Longfellow Bridge, was discharging massive amounts of heated water into the Charles River, killing fish and destroying the river ecosystem. As a result of a five-year negotiation involving CLF, CRWA and other key stakeholders, EPA issued a new water quality permit that requires the plant to reduce its heat discharge and water withdrawal by approximately 95 percent, and to ensure that any heated discharge does not warm the river enough to cause harm. In addition, the plant will capture most of the heat generated by the plant and distribute it as steam through a new pipeline to be built across the Longfellow Bridge over the next few years, at which point the excess steam will be used to heat buildings in Boston.

The team, led by CLF Senior Counsel Peter Shelley, included the contributions of a wide variety of experts and stakeholders, including the work of two former CLF staff members, Carol Lee Rawn, former CLF senior attorney, and Jud Crawford, former CLF senior scientist.

“The Mirant Kendall decision was a true win-win situation, reducing impacts on the Charles while providing heat to buildings across the river,” said John Kassel, president of CLF. “Throughout the long negotiations, the group remained determined flexible and patient, and that approach yielded a very innovative solution. The CLF and CRWA advocates who worked so diligently on this case are truly deserving of this honor.”

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) protects New England’s environment for the benefit of all people. Using the law, science and the market, CLF creates solutions that preserve natural resources, build healthy communities, and sustain a vibrant economy region-wide. Founded in 1966, CLF is a nonprofit, member-supported organization with offices in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Charles River Watershed Association uses science, advocacy and the law to protect, preserve and enhance the Charles River and its watershed. One of our country’s first watershed organizations, CRWA formed in 1965 in response to public concern about the declining condition of the Charles River.  Since its earliest days of advocacy, CRWA has figured prominently in major clean-up and watershed protection efforts that have dramatically improved the health of the Charles.