[JURIST] American Electric Power (AEP) [corporate website] has settled a lawsuit for $4.6 billion with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website], 12 environmental groups and eight northeastern states. The settlement is expected to be formally announced Tuesday, the same day the lawsuit was set to go to trial. Under the terms of the settlement, which must be approved by US District Judge Edmund Sargus, AEP will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions [EPA materials] by at least 69 percent over the next 10 years, pay $4.6 billion in pollution controls to reduce the causes of acid rain [EPA materials], and pay $15 million in civil penalties and $60 million in cleanup costs. The plaintiffs had alleged that AEP rebuilt coal-fired power plants without installing pollution controls required by the Clean Air Act [EPA materials]. AEP will clean up 46 coal-fired operations in 16 plants in the northeast and mid-Atlantic region.
Many environmentalists believe that acid rain caused by coal-fired power plants has caused severe pollution in the northeast, including erosion of the Statute of Liberty and the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. AEP spokesman Pat Hemlepp said that AEP plans to spend only $1.6 billion to install emission reducing machines in two plants, adding that the $4.6 billion figure quoted to AP likely included money AEP has already spent or committed to cleanup efforts outside of the settlement agreement. AP has more.