In a settlement recently announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice, Interstate Power and Light, a subsidiary of Alliant Energy, has agreed to install pollution-control technology and meet stringent emission rates to reduce air pollution from the company's seven coal-fired power plants in Iowa.

The settlement also requires Interstate Power and Light to spend a total of $6 million on environmental mitigation projects and pay a civil penalty of $1.1 million to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.

"To serve the communities in which they operate, power plants must protect clean air for those living nearby," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "This case delivers on the goals of EPA's national enforcement initiative to reduce air pollution from the largest sources. By installing new equipment and funding mitigation projects, Interstate Power and Light can help conserve energy and cut pollution in communities across Iowa."

Under the settlement, Interstate Power and Light will install and continuously operate new and existing pollution-control technology at its two largest plants in Lansing and Ottumwa, and will retire or convert to cleaner-burning natural gas at its remaining five plants in Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Dubuque and Marshalltown.

The new state-of-the-art pollution controls required by the settlement are expected to cost approximately $620 million. The EPA estimates that the settlement will reduce sulfur-dioxide emissions by 32,500 tons per year and nitrogen-oxide emissions by 3,800 tons per year once the settlement is fully implemented.

Interstate Power and Light will also be required to spend $6 million on environmental mitigation projects. The company will choose from five potential projects, including solar energy and anaerobic digester installations, replacing coal-fired boilers at schools with lower-emission equipment, an alternative fuel vehicle replacement program, and a program to help residents change out wood-burning stoves and fireplaces.

The settlement was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District Court of Iowa for 30 days to allow for public comment. The company is required to pay the penalty within 30 days after the court approves the settlement.

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