- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
American Electric Power, Columbus, Ohio, 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 by the Department of Justice and the EPA.
This is the single largest environmental enforcement settlement in history by several measures. For example, it is the largest 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.
Referring to its effects on respiratory illnesses, Granta Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA's enforcement and compliance assurance program said, "Today's settlement will save $32 billion in health costs per year for Americans."
The company claimed that changes made at their facilities fell under "routine maintenance," But in the lawsuit, which was filed against the company in 1999, the plaintiffs found significant evidence that the New Source Review (NSR) provisions of the Clean Air Act applied to the upgrades.
An unprecedented coalition of eight states and 13 citizen groups joined the federal government in the settlement. The agreement imposes caps on emissions of pollutants from 16 plants located in five states. The facilities are located in Moundsville (two facilities), St. Albans, Glasgow, and New Haven (two facilities), W. Va; Louisa, Ky; Glen Lyn and Carbo, Va.; Brilliant, Conesville, Cheshire, Lockburne and Beverly, Ohio; and Rockport and Lawrenceburg, Ind.