One of the nation’s largest power generators has agreed to end a years-long federal lawsuit by paying $4.6 billion to reduce pollution that has eaten away at Northeast mountain ranges and national landmarks.
The settlement requires American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, to reduce chemical emissions that cause acid rain by at least 69 percent over the next decade.
The settlement marks one of the largest government fines in an environmental case.
Eight states including Vermont, New York and New Hampshire, a dozen environmental groups and the EPA brought the lawsuit in 1999, accusing the energy company of rebuilding coal-fired power plants without installing pollution controls as required under the Clean Air Act.
Environmentalists blame acid rain caused by coal-fired power plants for plaguing the Northeast over the last quarter-century.
AP Photo/Paul Vernon