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$8.5 Million Multistate Clean Air Act Settlement Results in Improved Air Quality and Mitigation Funds for Vermont

CONTACT: Thea Schwartz, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-2359

February 25, 2013

Vermont, the United States, seven other states, and citizen groups have agreed to revise their 2007 landmark settlement agreement with the American Electric Power Service Corporation (AEP) to receive additional environmental benefits and mitigation funds. The revised settlement requires AEP, a major Ohio-based electric company, to further reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from its entire system of coal-fired power plants east of the Mississippi River and adds $8.5 million in mitigation project funding, of which Vermont will receive $714,285. “The revised settlement provides significant benefits to Vermonters by decreasing the amount of SO2 from AEP’s generating facilities,” Attorney General Bill Sorrell said. “This agreement further reduces SO2 emissions from AEP’s power plants which are carried to New England and contribute to the formation of sulfates and fine particulates that can cause respiratory illnesses and to acid rain that damages our forests and lakes,” Attorney General Sorrell added.

Under the revised settlement, AEP will cut SO2 emissions to 145,000 tons annually by 2016, an amount significantly lower than the original settlement’s requirement of 260,000 tons in 2016. In addition, by 2029 and each year thereafter, the revised settlement calls for AEP to reduce its SO2 emissions to 94,000 tons annually. AEP’s baseline SO2 emissions from its plants east of the Mississippi River before 2007 were about 828,000 tons annually. Under the revised settlement, AEP will be permitted to use alternative SO2 removal technology to meet the new limits.

“The settlement with AEP continues to provide Vermonters with cleaner air, healthier lakes, and important public health benefits,” according to David Mears, Commissioner of Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation. “The modifications to the settlement which will result in even greater reductions in SO2 are particularly significant in light of legal challenges overturning attempts by EPA to regulate the transport of air pollution from coal-fired power plants such as those owned and operated by AEP.”

Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, will receive a total of $6 million. Citizen groups in Indiana will receive $2.5 million for environmental mitigation projects.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.