[[Hit ’em where it hurts...in the moneybags!]]
WASHINGTON—A $4.6 billion settlement Tuesday by one of the last holdouts among polluting power companies signals the end of a long legal debate over acid rain—and a tougher battle ahead over carbon dioxide and the use of fossil fuels.
The agreement with American Electric Power Co., struck just as the company was to defend itself in court, ends an eight-year battle over reducing smokestack pollution that drifted across Northeast and mid-Atlantic states and chewed away on mountain ranges, bays and national landmarks.
Government officials praised the deal as the largest environmental settlement in the nation’s history.
“Plans change,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Ron Tenpas, announcing the settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus. “And obviously there is a big difference between a company saying it has plans to do something in the future and a company being bound by an order of the court to take those steps.”
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, said the deal shows “clean air enforcement is alive and well despite Bush administration efforts to gut the Clean Air Act.”