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Friday, March 18, 2005

Clean Air Watch Hails Ohio Edison Cleanup

CLEAN AIR WATCH HAILS OHIO EDISON CLEANUP

(Washington, DC. March 18, 2005) – The non-profit Clean Air Watch today hailed a legal settlement that will require Ohio Edison to make a significant pollution cleanup within the next seven years.

The company agreed to spend about $1.1 billion to clean up coal-burning power plants in Ohio by 2012.

“This cleanup settlement is graphic evidence that the Clean Air Act is working – as long as it is aggressively enforced,” noted Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch. “It will mean cleaner air and better health for millions of breathers in Ohio and states downwind.

“It also underscores why the federal government should be devoting more resources to enforcing the law against big polluters, rather than trying to re-write the law to cut breaks for the polluters.” The Bush administration has not sought sufficient resources to press similar cases, O’Donnell said.

“This is the type of cleanup that would be impossible under the so-called `clear skies,’ plan, which would repeal new source review,” O’Donnell added.

He noted that the cleanup would take place much more quickly under the settlement than under the proposed re-write of the law, which would phase in some emission reductions over a two-decade period while eliminating key safeguards in the law.

Federal officials said today that Ohio Edison and its parent company, First Energy, would reduce more than 212,000 tons of pollution per year during the next seven years.

In 2003 the company was convicted of violating the Clean Air Act’s new source review provisions following suits by the federal government and the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. O’Donnell said today’s settlement likely would not have happened without the persistent efforts of the state attorneys general.
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