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Agreement To Cut Pollution In Northwest Indiana

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Coal-Fired Power Plant

A coal-fired power plant. (Credit: Charlie Riedel/AP)

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GARY, Ind. (WBBM/CBS) – An agreement has reportedly been reached aimed at reducing air pollution along the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bob Conway reports, under the deal negotiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Northern Indiana Public Service Company will permanently deactivate a now-idle coal-fired power plant in Gary.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Conway reports

NIPSCO will also improve pollution controls at three other electric generators in Chesterton, Michigan City and Wheatfield.

The moves officials say will reduce sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides by thousands of tons each year, improving air quality throughout the region.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) can affect breathing and aggravate respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and is also a major component of acid rain, according to the EPA.

Nitrogen oxides, a group of several related chemical compounds, can also cause acid rain, as well as ground-level ozone and diminished water quality. They also contribute to global warming, according to the EPA.

In addition, both sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides can be converted into fine particulate matter, which can worsen lung disease, and cause asthma attacks and acute bronchitis. It has also been linked to heart attacks, the EPA said.

The settlement is the seventeenth negotiated by the EPA and the U.S. Justice Department as part of a national campaign to reduce air pollution from old coal plants, some of which date back to the 1940s.

Most of the cases have involved utilities in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

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