Under a landmark court settlement, Dominion Virginia Power this week agreed to spend $1.2 billion to cut emissions at eight coal-fired power plants by 70 percent within 12 years. Currently the utility’s plants emit more sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, the pollutants that cause acid rain and smog, than all 30 power plants in New York put together. Pollution from the Virginia plants tends to be blown into the Northeast, contributing to the deterioration of forests and air quality. The settlement, the largest ever under the Clean Air Act, comes as a result of a suit filed by New York and the U.S. EPA against a number of power producers in the Midwest and South. This deal may mark the beginning of a trend as New York and the EPA continue talks with other power companies.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.