American Electric Power has agreed to cut 813,000 tons of air pollutants annually 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 was announced on Oct. 10 by the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency. The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed against AEP in 1999, alleging the company violated the New Source Review requirements of the Clean Air Act.
This is the single largest environmental enforcement settlement in terms of the value of injunctive relief, and will result in the largest amount of emission reduction from stationary sources, such as power plants and factories.
"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."
An unprecedented coalition of eight states and 13 citizen groups joined the U.S. government in today's settlement. The agreement imposes caps on emissions of pollutants from 16 plants located in five states. 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.
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% less sulfur dioxide and 69% less nitrogen oxides, as compared to 2006 emissions.
The following eight states joined as plaintiffs in the case: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maryland, and Rhode Island.
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.