Updated March 26 at 12:27am

R.I. to receive $714K from AEP air quality settlement


PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island will receive $714,000 from an $8.5 million multi-state settlement with American Electric Power over air pollution from the company’s coal-fired power plants, R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced Monday.

Eight states, including Rhode Island, joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a number of citizens’ groups to negotiate a revised consent decree that improves upon a 2007 air pollution settlement with the Ohio-based electric company.

The terms of the consent decree, AEP will reduce its total sulfur dioxide emissions by roughly 90 percent by 2029 from its baseline emissions before the 2007 settlement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rhode Island will receive $714,000 to fund public air pollution mitigation projects.

“As a state, we have made a commitment to reduce our carbon and air pollution footprint by making state owned and operated facilities more energy efficient,” Kilmartin said in prepared remarks. “Clean, green, energy-efficient facilities reduce taxpayer costs, cut the harmful pollutants in our air and improve our quality of life.”

According to the Attorney General’s release, examples of past projects in Rhode Island funded through the AEP settlement include: retrofitting state vehicles with pollution control devices, wind turbines at Fisherman’s Memorial State Campground and East Matunuk State Beach, and a solar panel array project at the R.I. Public Transit Authority’s Providence facility.

“As in the past, the Office of Attorney General will meet with the Department of Environmental Management and Department of Administration to identify appropriate projects that comply with the consent decree,” said the release.

Sulfur dioxide emission can contribute to the formation of sulfates and fine particulates that “can cause or exacerbate respiratory illnesses in the most vulnerable populations, including, the elderly and small children,” said the release, adding that sulfur dioxide is also the principal contributor to acid rain.


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