American Electrical Power will spend $4.6 billion to drastically reduce harmful emissions at coal-burning plants in five states in the largest pollution settlement in Justice Department history, CNN reports. Under the deal, to be announced today, the Ohio-based company must also pay an additional $60 million on cleanup and a $15-million fine to the government. The firm will be required to reduce emissions 69% over the next 10 years.
The agreement settles an eight-year-old case brought by then-Attorney General Janet Reno after the Environmental Protection Agency charged that the company didn't install the "best available" technology required by the Clean Air Act during renovation. "When children can't breathe because of pollution from a utility plant hundreds of miles away, something must be done," Reno said when the case was filed.