Settlement Proposed in |Alabama Pollution Case

     (CN) – Fourteen years after suing the Alabama Power Company over alleged Clean Air Act violations, federal regulators on Thursday asked a federal judge to approve a final settlement of the case.
     In a complaint filed on Jan, 12, 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department claimed Alabama Power was operating several coal-fired power plants without installing proper pollution control equipment.
     As a result, the federal agencies said, “massive amounts” of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter had been released into the atmosphere, “aggravating air pollution locally and far downwind from these plants.”
     On June 19, 2006, the government entered into a partial settlement with the utility, dismissing claims related to one coal-fired plant in their entirety, and dismissing one claim each at two other plants.
     The proposal U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins was asked to consider Thursday would modify the existing settlement agreement and resolve the remaining claims in the long-running case, the government said.
     According to court documents, pollution reductions at the plants that remained a subject of the lawsuit after 2006 will be achieved through the installation of state-of-art emissions control devices, the conversion of four units from coat to natural gas, and the retirement of three other units.
     The revisions to the 2006 agreement also require Alabama Power to meet specified emission rates and to pay a $100,000 fine.
     In addition, the utility has committed to spending at least $1.5 million on electrical charging infrastructure for electric airport service vehicles and passenger cars.
     Representatives of the utility did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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