Thumbs up: Breathing Easier
On Monday, American Electric Power
reached a settlement
with the U.S. EPA and several other stakeholders to retire three coal-burning plants in the Midwest by 2015, including one in Indiana. Altogether, plaintiffs estimated the plant retirements would eliminate 12 million tons in carbon-based emissions and 84,000 tons of sulfur dioxide. The Clean Air Task Force
, which works to raise awareness of the health challenges associated with emissions from coal-burning plants estimated that the closures would avert 203 deaths, 310 heart attacks, 3,160 asthma attacks, and 188 emergency room visits per year. Plaintiffs report that the agreement will also require AEP to install new pollution controls at its Rockport plant and schedule its two units from retirement in 2025 and 2028, respectively, or capture 98 percent of their sulfur dioxide emissions, as well as develop 50 MW of wind or solar power in 2013 and an additional 150 MW of wind or solar power in Indiana or Michigan by 2015, plus invest $2.5 million in efforts to improve Indiana's air quality. The plaintiffs included eight northeastern states and 13 citizens groups, including local watchdogs such as Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana and the Hoosier Environmental Council, as well as organizations such Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.