Connecticut Attorney General's Office
Press Release



Attorney General, DEP Announce Ohio Utility To Pay State $270,000, Slash Pollution Carried To CT

December 22, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today announced that Ohio utility Cinergy has agreed to pay the state $270,000 and reduce by up to 86 percent harmful emissions carried by prevailing winds into Connecticut.

Blumenthal reached the agreement in cooperation with Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) commissioner Amey Marella, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the federal Department of Justice and the states of New Jersey and New York.

In 2001, Blumenthal sued Cinergy, based in Cincinnati, Oh., for failing to strengthen pollution controls when it upgraded an older, coal-burning power plant to increase output. The Clean Air Act requires older, dirtier generators to install additional anti-pollution devices when they are upgraded.

Blumenthal and fellow plaintiffs won a jury verdict in May 2009 that the company had violated the Clean Air Act. The settlement announced today makes unnecessary a second trial scheduled for next month to determine penalties.

Blumenthal said, "This settlement is a significant victory for clean air, slashing deadly emissions from this plant as much as 86 percent and providing nearly $300,000 for environmental restoration in Connecticut -- a total of $6.5 million nationwide. This agreement sends a powerful message: power producers who flout federal clean air laws will be caught and compelled to comply. Our victory empowers the Clean Air Act, affirming federal and state authority to force clean up of older plants.

"Thanks to this settlement, Connecticut residents will literally breathe easier. Thousands of tons of deadly pollutants -- sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and soot -- from this Cinergy power plant will no longer foul our air, sickening and killing and causing acid rain. This agreement will literally save lives, while sparing thousands from asthma and other respiratory ailments.

"We will continue fighting to enforce federal clean air laws vital to protecting the environment and public health," Blumenthal said.

Marrella said, "Cinergy is now paying the price for its violation of the Clean Air Act. Their failure to install pollution control equipment has resulted in negative impacts to Connecticut's air quality.

"Because of prevailing winds, the magnitude of emissions from each of Cinergy's coal-fired power plants is significant, with individual plants emitting more sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and soot than all emissions from the entire state of Connecticut. These reductions are key to our healthy air goals," Marrella said.

Under the settlement, the Cinergy plant will slash by 2012 sulfur dioxide 86 percent and nitrogen oxides 45 percent. Particulate matter -- soot -- emitted by the plant also will fall significantly.