Clean Air settlement is biggest in history
October 09, 2007
Washington, D.C.- Residents of certain sections of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia and surrounding states should be able to breathe a bit easier. American Electric Power has agreed to cut 813,000 tons of air pollutants annually from 16 of its plants at an estimated cost of more than $4.6 billion, pay a $15 million penalty, and spend $60 million on projects to mitigate the adverse effects of its past excess emissions. The record settlement, which resolves a lawsuit filed against AEP alleging the company violated the New Source Review requirements of the Clear Air Act, was announced today by the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency. AEP provides electricity to more than five million customers in 11 states.

Considered the single largest environmental enforcement settlement in history, it is the largest settlement in terms of the value of injunctive relief and resultant amount of emission reduction from any power plant or factory source. The facilities are located in Moundsville (2 facilities), St. Albans, Glasgow, and New Haven (2 facilities), W. Va; Louisa, Ky; Glen Lyn and Carbo, Va.; Brilliant, Conesville, Cheshire, Lockburne, and Beverly, Ohio; and Rockport and Lawrenceburg, Ind.

“Today’s settlement will save $32 billion in health costs per year for Americans,” said Granta Nakayama, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s enforcement and compliance assurance program. “Less air pollution from power plants means fewer cases of asthma and other respiratory illnesses.”

The AEP will install pollution control equipment to reduce and cap sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 813,000 tons per year when fully implemented. By installing these pollution control measures, the plants will emit 79 percent less sulfur dioxide and 69 percent less nitrogen oxides, as compared to 2006 emissions.

The company will spend an additional $60 million to finance and conduct projects to mitigate the impact of past emissions. Of the total, $24 million for these projects will be allocated among New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maryland, and Rhode Island--the states that joined the settlement. The remaining $36 million will be spent on mitigation projects identified in the settlement agreement.

The following citizen groups also joined the settlement as plaintiffs: Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, United States Public Interest Research Group, Izaak Walton League of America, Ohio Citizen Action, Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Hoosier Environmental Council, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Environmental Council, Clean Air Council, Indiana Wildlife Federation, and the League of Ohio Sportsmen.

The AEP settlement was lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and is subject to a 30-day public comment period. A copy of the consent decree is available on the EPA Web site here.

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The American Electric Power settlementma-earth223802007-10-09 13:59:14