NY Communities to Receive $1.8M from Coal Pollution Settlement to Innovate around Climate Solutions

Talk about a win-win situation. New York State’s leaders have decided to fund locally-tailored initiatives focused on how to respond to the state’s changing climate, using $1.8M of the nationwide polluter-pays settlement paid out by American Electric Power (AEP).

One benefit of this win is the significant reduction of acid rain (caused by sulfur dioxide) and smog (caused by nitrogen oxide) – thanks to the pollution control equipment that AEP agreed to install in 16 aging electric plants in Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky. The other benefit of the win is the empowerment of local communities to innovate around climate solutions. Dating back to 2008, the $9.5M that New York State received from AEP for pollution violations of the federal Clean Air Act funded clean energy projects including a solar energy lab, residential energy efficiency and cleaner energy conversions, protection from agricultural pollution from farms, pollution controls on school buses, and conversion of New York City’s delivery vehicles to electric.

This type of creative problem-solving is both an inspiration and welcome good news. Seven other states received payments under the settlement: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Stay tuned, and please join with these leaders to lead by example on the Path to Positive.

New York State to use coal plant settlement to help fight climate change

By Brian Nearing |Times Union | April 21, 2015

Albany – Seven years after getting a record-setting payment under a federal pollution settlement with the nation’s largest owner of coal-fired power plants, the state is spending its last $1.8 million to fund local projects aimed at local plans to combat ongoing climate change.

The announcement Tuesday by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman culminates the state’s spending of $9.5 million paid in 2008 by American Electric Power as part of a nationwide settlement for pollution violations under the federal Clean Air Act.

New York was among eight Northeastern states that settled a lawsuit with AEP to reduce emissions from power plants that cause acid rain. The company also agreed to pay $4.6 billion for pollution controls at 16 aging electric plants in the Midwest.

Now, Schneiderman said his office will be taking applications this fall from local groups with ideas on how to respond to the state’s changing climate. Combustion of fossil fuel, like the coal used at AEP plants, is identified by an international scientific consensus as the cause of ongoing, man-made climate change.

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