Company Will Also Pay $750,000 Civil Penalty and Perform Diesel-Emissions Reduction Project
Today, in a proposed consent decree lodged today in U.S. District Court, Louisville Gas & Electric Company (“LG&E”) has agreed to permanent emission limits for the sulfuric acid mist that it emits from its Mill Creek Station, located in Jefferson County, Kentucky. LG&E also agreed to perform a congressionally authorized diesel-emissions reduction supplemental environmental project aimed at reducing ground-level emissions to resolve allegations that it emitted too much sulfuric acid mist in violation of the Clean Air Act.
The complaint, filed in July 2020, alleges that LG&E failed to timely install and operate emission control technology and operated its facility, including its boilers and nitrogen oxide controls, in a manner that exacerbated sulfuric acid mist emissions. As a result, the utility’s coal combustion operations emitted high levels of sulfuric acid mist, affecting the surrounding community and violating certain federally enforceable general provisions of Kentucky’s Clean Air Act State Implementation Plan.
“By establishing a permanent limit on emissions of sulfuric acid mist from Louisville Gas & Electric’s Mill Creek facility, this settlement will help protect future air quality for local communities,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “An additional provision of the settlement will improve local air quality, including in historically underserved communities, by reducing diesel emissions from the company’s truck fleet.”
“This settlement will ensure that this utility permanently controls emissions of a harmful air pollutant,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This agreement demonstrates the Justice Department’s and EPA’s continuing efforts, together with our local partners, to reduce harmful air pollution caused by poor air pollution control practices.”
“These permanent emissions limits continue the work of protecting the air for the people of Louisville,” said Director Rachael Hamilton of the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District (LMAPCD). “This settlement will have a positive impact on air quality, and it could not have been done without the combined efforts of the Justice Department, EPA, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell and his office, and our own staff at LMAPCD.”
As part of the settlement, the company will also pay a $750,000 civil penalty and will incorporate into its service fleet trucks that use battery rather than diesel power when performing power line maintenance or construction. The project will reduce ground-level emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, sulfur dioxides and other pollutants. The project also will reduce emissions of approximately 180,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Because the settlement requires all of the trucks to be stationed at LG&E’s service center in Auburndale, the benefits of the project will be realized in the surrounding communities, including historically underserved communities.
The consent decree, lodged in the Western District Court of Kentucky, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. The consent decree will be available for viewing at https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.