American Electric Power agreed on Monday to stop burning coal at three of its power plants and lower sulfur dioxide emissions across its operations in a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and a coalition of environmental groups.
Environmentalists are claiming the settlement as a major climate victory and a blow to coal power.
“This agreement is only the latest sign of progress as our country continues to transition away from dirty, dangerous, and expensive coal-fired power plants,” said Sierra Club spokeswoman Jodi Perras.
But the company, one of the largest electric power utilities in the country, had already planned to retire two of its power plants, AEP spokeswoman Melissa McHenry told The Washington Examiner. AEP has planned for some time to retire the Muskingum River Power plant in Ohio as part of its plan to comply with the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, and requested in December to retire its Big Sandy plant in Kentucky as well.
“It is incorrect to say that this agreement results in the closure of three AEP coal plants,” McHenry said.