John Kerry on Historic American Electric Power Emissions Ruling
John Kerry made the following statement today, after a federal court ruled that the Clean Air Act mandates American Electric Power to dramatically reduce emissions and clean up the damage caused by historical emissions from five power plants. Pollution from plants located in the Ohio River Valley and Appalachia impacted air, water and wildlife in northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States. The court ruled that the company must cut emissions by more than two-thirds over the next decade.
"This historic ruling must begin a new era, where polluters pay for the damage they cause to our health and our environment; and we start reducing the emissions that threaten our air, water, wildlife and, because of global climate change, life as we know it itself. This decision should put the Bush Administration on notice that years of refusing to enforce our environmental protections are about to end, because citizens are fighting back against Washington's abdication of responsibility," said Kerry. "The court affirmed what we have known for years: that power plant emissions do not recognize state lines. I hope that this settlement will begin to repair the damage to our communities, our health and our natural resources, which have been seriously impacted by acid rain pollution over many years."
The record settlement was announced today by the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency. It stated that American Electric Power must cut 813,000 tons of air pollutants annually at an estimated cost of more than $4.6 billion, pay a $15 million penalty, and spend $60 million on projects to mitigate the damage they caused.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, along with eight other states, thirteen environmental groups and the EPA claimed victory today, after they sued American Electric Power in 1999.