The Department of Justice and EPA have reached a settlement with Interstate Power and Light, a subsidiary of Alliant Energy, which has agreed to install pollution control technology and meet stringent emission rates to reduce harmful air pollution from the company’s seven coal-fired power plants in Iowa. The settlement also requires Interstate Power and Light to spend a total of $6 million on environmental mitigation projects and pay a civil penalty of $1.1 million to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.
“This settlement is a victory for air quality and public health in Iowa,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This agreement will cover all of Interstate’s coal-burning facilities in Iowa, requiring new pollution cutting technology and environmental projects to enhance air quality in surrounding communities, among other lasting benefits.”
Linn County, Iowa, the state of Iowa and the Sierra Club joined the United States as co-plaintiffs in the case.
Spinning the settlement as a “step forward in the transition to cleaner energy,” Doug Kopp, president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility, commented, “For several years, we have been executing a plan to create cleaner and more efficient ways to generate energy for our customers. Iowans are already seeing the benefits of our work, and our next projects will deliver even more clean-energy solutions.”
According to the company, Alliant Energy’s clean energy is made possible by:
- Increasing renewable energy sources.
- Increasing the use of cleaner-burning natural gas.
- Installing new technology to reduce emissions at coal-fired generating stations.
“The emissions reductions required by this settlement will lead to cleaner air and significant environmental and public health benefits for Iowans. This settlement will eliminate thousands of tons of harmful air pollution each year significantly improving air quality in Iowa and throughout the Midwest," said U.S. Attorney Kevin W. Techau for the Northern District of Iowa.
Under the settlement, Interstate Power and Light will install and continuously operate new and existing pollution control technology at its two largest plants in Lansing and Ottumwa, Iowa and will retire or convert to cleaner-burning natural gas its remaining five plants in Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Dubuque and Marshalltown, Iowa. The new, state-of-the-art pollution controls required by the settlement are expected to cost approximately $620 million. EPA estimates that the settlement will reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 32,500 tons per year and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 3,800 tons per year once the settlement is fully implemented.
Interstate Power and Light also will be required to spend $6 million on environmental mitigation projects. The company will choose from five potential projects, including solar energy and anaerobic digester installations, replacing coal-fired boilers at schools with lower-emission equipment, an alternative fuel vehicle replacement program and a residential program to change out wood burning stoves and fireplaces.
“To serve the communities in which they operate, power plants must protect clean air for those living nearby,” said Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This case delivers on the goals of EPA’s national enforcement initiative to reduce air pollution from the largest sources. By installing new equipment and funding mitigation projects, Interstate Power and Light can help conserve energy and cut pollution in communities across Iowa.”
The settlement was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District Court of Iowa for 30 days to allow for public comment. The company is required to pay the penalty within 30 days after the court approves the settlement.