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Energy Co. to Spend $500M on Clean Air

(CN) - Westar Energy will spend $500 million to reduce harmful emissions by 78,600 tons a year at its coal-fired power plant in Kansas as part of a Clean Air Act settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Justice Department called it the toughest sulfur dioxide limits ever imposed on a coal-fired plant in a federal settlement.

Westar, which operates the Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys, Kan., will also spend about $500 million to reduce air pollution from the plant and $3 million in civil penalties as part of the settlement.

The agreement resolves a 2009 complaint alleging that Westar failed to install pollution control equipment at the plant. The agreement is expected to reduce the plant's combined emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by 85 percent compared with 2007, according to the EPA.

Also as part of the settlement, with the federal government and Kansas, Westar will spend $6 million on "environmental mitigation projects."

The proposed settlement was filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

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