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AMP to Shutdown Last OH Coal Plant, Spend Millions on Efficiency

May 20, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A controversial source of air pollution in Ohio will be shutting down, and its operator will be spending millions on energy efficiency. Those are a few of the important terms of a settlement reached this week between the federal government and American Municipal Power (AMP), which will turn off its last coal power plant in the state, along the Ohio River near Marietta, by the end of the year. The settlement ends a lawsuit that said the Gorsuch plant has violated the Clean Air Act since at least 1991.

The agreement includes $15 million that AMP will spend on energy efficiency programs, which Nachy Kanfer with Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign says will be a big help in Ohio.

"That is the cleanest, fastest, safest and most-reliable way to get carbon reductions while saving consumers money. They'll be things like rebates for outdated appliances, available for consumers in AMP's service territory."

Kanfer says, increasingly, more utilities like AMP are opting not to continue investing in coal power.

"Why pour money into existing old, dirty coal infrastructure when that coal infrastructure can be shut down and then the money spent on efficiency and clean energy?"

The settlement requires AMP to shut down the facility by the end of 2012, but a release from the company on Wednesday said it would move to cease operations at the plant by December 15 of this year. AMP says it is exploring the possibility of a gas project at the site and is already working on the energy efficiency program, which it expects will create 30 new jobs.

The settlement is at www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/caa/americanmunicipalpower.html.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - OH