Dominion Virginia Power will spend $1.2 billion to reduce emissions from eight coal-burning plants to settle government lawsuits over air pollution in the Northeast, officials announced yesterday.
The agreement by the Virginia power company stems from a lawsuit filed last year by the State of New York and EPA.
EPA and Northeastern states, which have strict emissions regulations, have long said that wind carries pollution from the Midwest and South into the Northeast.
The pollutants emitted by the eight plants in Virginia and West Virginia include sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain, and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog.
The plants emit about as much of these two pollutants as all 31 electric power plants in New York State combined.
Dominion will also cut particulate emissions, or soot, which is a factor in asthma and other respiratory ailments.
The company agreed to reduce emissions by 70 percent, or 252,000 tons per year, from 2003 through 2015.
The $1.2 billion cleanup bill is a record for actions brought under the Federal Clean Air Act.
"This is the single greatest air pollution reduction ever achieved from a utility," said EPA Administrator Carol Browner.
The suit marked the first time a state had sued a polluter in a different state under the Clean Air Act.
by Virginia Sutcliffe