SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, April 1, 2013 (ENS) – Dominion Energy has agreed to pay a $3.4 million civil penalty and spend $9.75 million on environmental mitigation projects to resolve Clean Air Act violations at coal-fired power plants in three states.

The U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the settlement will result in reductions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter by more than 70,000 tons per year.

Kincaid

Dominion Energy’s Kincaid power plant (Photo courtesy Kincaid Generation LLC)

The affected power plants are in Kincaid, Illinois, State Line, Indiana, and Somerset, Massachusetts.

Under the settlement, Dominion must install or upgrade pollution control technology on two plants, and permanently retire the State Line plant.

“Today’s settlement substantially reduces harmful pollution from coal-fired power plants in and around communities with significant air pollution concerns,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

“Along with the pollution reductions at the three power plants covered by the agreement, the settlement also requires Dominion to invest over $9 million in pollution reducing projects in neighboring communities,” said Giles.

“This settlement will improve air quality in states in the Midwest and Northeast by eliminating tens of thousands of tons of harmful air pollution each year,” said Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“These reductions mark the latest step in our continuing efforts, along with EPA, to protect public health and the environment through rigorous enforcement of the Clean Air Act,” she said.

Under the settlement, Dominion must install or upgrade pollution control technology on two plants, and permanently retire the State Line plant.

Annual reductions at the Brayon Point and Kincaid plants of SO2 and NOx emissions are expected to reach 52,000 tons from 2010 levels. Retirement of the State Line plant is expected to result in the reduction of 18,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, SO2, and nitrogen oxides, NOx.

State Line

Dominion’s coal-fired State Line power plant in Hammond, Indiana just across the border from Illinois on Lake Michigan (Photo courtesy Dominion)

Dominion will be required to continuously operate the new and existing pollution controls, and will be required to comply with stringent emission rates and annual tonnage limitations.

The settlement also requires Dominion to spend $9.75 million on projects that will benefit the environment and human health in communities located near the Dominion facilities.

These projects will include
1) wood stove changeouts, including $2 million for changeouts in southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and eastern Connecticut;
2) switcher locomotive idle reduction for Chicago rail yards,
3) land acquisition and restoration adjacent to, or near, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore,
4) energy efficiency and geothermal/solar projects for local schools and food banks, and
5) clean diesel engine retrofits for municipalities and school districts.

Dominion must pay a total of $750,000 to the United States Forest Service and the National Park Service, to be used on projects to address the damage done from Dominion’s alleged excess emissions.

Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of 27,500 megawatts of generation and 6,300 miles of electric transmission lines.

The settlement was lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

Reducing air pollution from the largest sources of emissions, including coal-fired power plants, is one of EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives for 2011-2013.

SO2 and NOx, two key pollutants emitted from power plants, have numerous adverse effects on human health and are contributors to acid rain, smog, and haze. These pollutants are converted in the air to fine particles of particulate matter that can cause severe respiratory and cardiovascular impacts, and premature death.

Reducing these air pollutants will benefit the communities located near Dominion facilities, particularly communities disproportionately impacted by environmental risks and vulnerable populations, including children.

Because air pollution from power plants can travel far downwind, this settlement also will reduce air pollution outside the immediate region.

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