Feds, Utility Settle Pollution Suit Over Kansas Coal Plant

"TOPEKA, Kan. -- Kansas' largest electric company has agreed to upgrade pollution controls at its biggest power plant under a legal settlement announced Monday by the utility and federal officials.

Westar Energy Inc. said it expects to spend at least $200 million on equipment to cut emissions at its coal-fired Jeffrey Energy Center, about 30 miles northwest of Topeka. But federal officials estimated the improvements will cost about $500 million. The bill is likely to be paid by Westar's 684,000 customers.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit in February 2009 against Westar in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. It came five years after the Environmental Protection Agency notified the utility that Westar had violated federal air pollution regulations."

John Hanna reports for the Associated Press January 25, 2010.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010