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Power Plant Legal Animations and Effective Information Design (pt. 2)

Ken Lopez
By: Ken Lopez

Energy Litigation, Trial Graphics, Litigation Graphics, Trial Presentation, Animation, Environmental Litigation, Psychology, Judges, Clean Air Act, Information Design

Part 2 of 2 (go to part 1)

I will begin by reiterating key elements of the first post in this this two part series.

More than 20 years ago, the Justice Department began filing lawsuits against a large number of coal fired power plants based on a Clean Air Act provision called New Source Review (NSR).  The NSR process calls on power plant operators to seek EPA review and approval before making modifications to their power plant that would significantly increase emissions.  An exception exists routine maintenance.  Since Congress neglected to define routine and significant, litigation has followed over these definitions.

Animators at Law has worked on many of these cases and created trial graphics and legal animations.  I want to share portions of a 13-minute animation used in the opening of an NSR bench trial in 2003.  We worked on behalf of the power plant owner in this matter.  We faced multiple challenges such as:

  1. conveying the scale of the plant;
  2. explaining the plant's operation;
  3. showing how the projects in question were not large;
  4. showing how these projects were in fact routine maintenance;
  5. showing how none of the projects increased emissions.
After the Justice Department opened its case with an animation that compared the size of parts changed during routine maintenance to elephants, houses and semi-trucks, we had to make the point that while large parts were changed, they are relatively small in the context of such a large facility.  With billions of dollars at stake, Animators at Law prepared a large number of trial boards and legal animations for the case.

In part one of this post, I shared how Animators at Law compared the size of the facility to Busch Stadium using legal animations.  Below is an example of how we combined technical illustration with a legal animation overlay to provide an overview of the plant, to explain how the plant worked and to again emphasize scale.

Below is a trial exhibit used in an NSR trial that effectively compared the routine maintenance of the bridge to the routine maintenance at a coal fired power plant.  We think it was a very effective analogy and a leading environmental publication agreed and remarked on its use.

New Source Review Clean Air Act Trial Graphics

Below is another legal animation showing some highly skilled 3-D modeling and animation used in another New Source Review Case.  The 3-D model was used in other legal animations and graphics to explain the unique geography of the plant.

10 Reasons Trial Graphics Prep Enhances Win Rates

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