CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte says the state will receive $1.2 million from a multi-state settlement reached last year with an Ohio power company.

The money comes from an October agreement with American Electric Power Co. over smokestack pollution that drifted across Northeast and mid-Atlantic states. The case began in 1999 when eight states and 13 environmental groups joined the Environmental Protection Agency’s crackdown on energy companies accused of rebuilding coal-fired power plants without installing pollution controls as required.

Under the terms of the original settlement, the money may be used for projects related to improving air quality. Payments will be spread out over the next five years.

New Hampshire’s portion is just part of a larger settlement that will see $60 million distributed throughout the Northeast and parts of the Midwest for environmental projects, such as improvements to buildings to make them energy efficient and investments in energy alternatives such as solar power. Some of the money will also go to help people near the plants who were impacted by the emissions.

“This settlement recognizes that emissions from Midwestern power plants are polluting our air and water here in New Hampshire,” Gov. John Lynch said. “These funds will be used to continue to work to reduce harmful pollution and improve air quality here in New Hampshire.”

The project money is in addition to the billions of dollars that must be spent by American Electric Power under the settlement to reduce pollution from its own power plants.

Environmentalists blame acid rain caused by coal-fired power plants for plaguing the Northeast over the last quarter-century, including damage that has eaten away at the Statue of Liberty and the Adirondacks mountain range in upstate New York. Smog and acid rain have been linked to sulfates and nitrates that are products of coal-fired plants.

AP-ES-04-08-08 1442EDT

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