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$4.6 Billion EPA Settlement

Chemical emissions from American Electric Power of Ohio are blamed for spreading smog and acid rain across the Northeast, causing damage to trees like these.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the largest settlement in its history in October.

The $4.6 billion agreement requires American Electric Power Company of Ohio to equip its coal-burning plants with scrubbers and to pay penalties for damages caused by acid rain.

The EPA, a dozen environmental groups and eight states -- Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont -- brought the lawsuit against AEP in 1999.

The settlement requires AEP to:

  • Cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 69 percent by 2016, and reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 79 percent by 2018.
  • Pay $60 million in mitigation measures. The money includes $21 million to reduce emissions from barges and trucks in the Ohio River Valley; $24 million for projects to conserve energy and produce alternative energy; and $3 million for the Chesapeake Bay, $2 million for Shenandoah National Park and $10 million to acquire ecologically sensitive lands in Appalachia.

AEP said it had not violated the Clean Air Act. The company had opposed the $15 million civil penalty but did not have to admit guilt as part of the settlement, a spokesman said. Failure to comply with the terms of the settlement could result in daily penalties of hundreds of thousands of dollars.


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June 18, 2019, 6:39 pm PDT

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