8/1/2014

    Consent decrees filed to resolve citizen suits against AEP West Virginia power plants

    Proposed consent decrees were filed in two federal courts on Friday to resolve a coalition of environmental groups’ allegations against American Electric Power’s John Amos, Mitchell and Kammer plants in West Virginia. The allegations involve water discharges from various sources at the plants.

    Appalachian Mountain Advocates represents a coalition of environmental groups including the Sierra Club, W.Va. Highlands Conservancy, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and the W.Va. Rivers Coalition. The groups notified Appalachian Power in November 2013 of their intent to file suit based primarily on alleged violations of limitations that were the subject of extended compliance schedules issued by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP). The suits were filed Friday along with the consent decrees. They were filed against Appalachian Power, Ohio Power, Kentucky Power and AEP Generation Resources, all business units of American Electric Power.

    The coalition claimed that WV DEP must use the permitting process, which allows public input through notice and comment, to change water permits instead of using administrative orders, which are issued without a comment period.

    “We agree that the permitting process should provide transparency so that the public and the company know the requirements we are expected to meet,” said Charles Patton, Appalachian Power president and chief operating officer.

    As part of the settlements, the company will meet future limitations for mercury and selenium at the John Amos Plant. At the Kammer Plant, the company confirmed its commitment to retire all three units and cease sluicing fly ash to the Conner Run fly ash pond no later than Dec. 31, 2015. The Mitchell Plant will complete its conversion to a dry ash system and meet new effluent limitations at the fly ash impoundment outlet by Nov. 15, 2014, and undertake a study of aquatic life at Conner Run this summer.

    Also as part of the agreements, AEP will make a $75,000 contribution to the W.Va. Land Trust, pay $7,500 in civil penalties, and reimburse the groups’ attorney fees.

    AEP has spent $2.2 billion on environmental improvements at its West Virginia plants in the last decade, primarily for scrubbers to remove sulfur dioxide and related improvements including waste water treatment.

    Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

     

     

     

     

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