The Good Neighbor Petition (officially a Section 126 Petition under the Clean Air Act) is a way for states and towns like Eliot to stand up for their kids and families when pollution crosses state lines.
It ensures resident’s concerns are answered by getting help from the Environmental Protection Agency to officially investigate the air pollution issue. If the EPA’s experts find pollution from the Schiller coal plant threatens healthy air quality in Eliot, they will take action to force the plant’s owner, Boston-based Northeast Utilities, to clean it up without any cost to the town. If they find no violations, the process will end there.
Filing the petition doesn’t commit the town to any actions or fees. In a letter, Eliot’s town attorney made it clear that he “do[es] not . . . foresee potential liability” from filing a Good Neighbor Petition.1 Similarly, the Maine Attorney General examined the issue and determined that there was “no risk of a non-frivolous lawsuit” to the people of Eliot, and that there would be almost no cost to the Town of Eliot from the petition.1
The Good Neighbor Petition is the best tool Eliot residents have to guarantee their health concerns are heard and acted upon.