A federal Clean Air Act violator has agreed to put up $400,000 for projects aimed at restoring hundreds of lakes and streams in the Adirondacks still suffering damages from acid rain pollution.
State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said the grant program, the Adirondack Acid Rain Recovery Program, will fund investing in scientific solutions to help identify the most efficient and effective approaches to reversing acid rain's continuing harm to the Adirondack environment.
Funding for the environmental benefit program was obtained by the Attorney General’s office in a multi-state settlement with Cinergy Corp., now Duke Energy Corp., over violations of the federal Clean Air Act.
Although acid rain has decreased significantly in recent years as a result of federal and state efforts to limit air pollution, parts of the Adirondacks have been slow to recover due to the lingering effects of acid rain pollution in the region. In fact, scientists believe that over 500 water bodies in the Adirondacks continue to suffer from the damage caused by acid rain, according to a news release from the attorney general.
The program is a response to recommendations made by scientists and policymakers for key priorities in reversing acid rain pollution and its impacts in the Adirondacks.
Funds for the Adirondacks Acid Rain Recovery Program were obtained in a 2010 settlement with Cinergy Corp. after the company failed to install technology for controlling SO2 emissions at its Midwestern coal-fired plants in violation of the New Source Review provisions of the federal Clean Air Act.
In addition to providing funds to establish the program, the settlement required Cinergy to modify its operations and control pollution at its facilities, steps that have reduced SO2 emissions by 35,000 tons per year, according to a recent federal government estimate.