WASHINGTON (AP) – Mirant Corp. will spend more than $130 million on new pollution controls at four power plants in Maryland and Virginia under an agreement reached Monday between the company and state and federal governments.

The pollution controls are intended to cut emissions of nitrogen oxides linked to acid rain, smog and haze and to ensure the plants meet federal and state health-based air standards.

The company, based in Atlanta, also agreed to spend $1 million on nine other projects that would cut fine particle pollution such as soot and dust linked to childhood asthma and other respiratory problems, and to pay a $500,000 civil penalty that would be split by the federal government and Virginia.

Installing new pollution controls at four of the company’s 25 U.S. plants will cut an estimated 29,000 tons of nitrogen oxides from the air, the Justice Department said. Federal and state officials said the result will help millions of people breathe easier by improving air quality throughout the Washington, D.C., region.

If approved by the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., the settlement would resolve claims that Mirant exceeded its permit limits for emissions of nitrogen oxides at its Potomac River plant in Alexandria in 2003.

The three Maryland plants where Migrant agreed to cut nitrogen oxide pollution are in Prince George’s, Montgomery and Charles counties, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

Mirant had no immediate comment.

The settlement makes minor revisions to an earlier 2004 agreement, imposing new yearly limits on nitrogen oxides at the plants instead of just to deal with a summer smog problem.

On the Net:

Justice Department: http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/open.html

Mirant: http://www.mirant.com/index.html