IPL to pay $1.5M to settle pollution issues at Petersburg

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Power & Light Co. has agreed to pay more than $1.5 million in penalties to resolve pollution issues at its Petersburg Generating Station in southwestern Indiana.

IPL will pay a civil penalty of $1.525 million, with $925,000 going to the federal government and $600,000 to the state of Indiana, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

The settlement is subject to approval by U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.

The 1,700-megawatt station located about 120 miles (193 kilometers) southwest of Indianapolis is IPL's largest power plant.

IPL said in December it would retire two of the four coal-burning units at the plant by 2023. In response, the Justice Department said Monday that if IPL actually does retire those units by 2030, it will not have to install expensive pollution-control equipment on one of its coal-fired units.

IPL must reduce the plant’s emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and sulfuric acid mist. All four units at Petersburg have violated pollution regulations, according to EPA inspection reports.

Under the agreement, IPL said it will spend $5 million on non-polluting generating sources at Petersburg to support the plant’s auxiliary load requirements. It will also acquire and donate an unspecified amount of “ecologically significant lands.” Plans also may include funding for planting native trees, grasses and wildflower on acquired lands in the future, IPL said.

The watchdog group Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana said the agreement does not actually provide much of a penalty to IPL.

“IPL was already planning to retire those Petersburg units,” said Kerwin Olson, the group’s executive director.

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