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Maryland and seven other states will divide $24 million to be used for energy efficiency and air pollution reduction projects as a result of a federal Clean Air Act settlement with American Electric Power (AEP), according to Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.

Each state will establish a process for distributing the funds. Potential projects include supporting the construction of green buildings, installing solar and other renewable energy systems, purchasing pollution control technologies, and investing in energy efficiency and conservation programs.

In October 2007, a coalition of states and environmental groups, led by New York, and the federal government reached a settlement with AEP over Clean Air Act violations. As part of the settlement, AEP is required to pay the eight states a total of $24 million over the next five years to fund energy efficiency and air pollution reduction projects.

"Today's settlement demonstrates the states’ ability to hold power companies accountable for the damage they have done to the environment and to our communities," says Gansler. "My office will work together with the Department of the Environment to develop targeted projects that will reduce pollution and increase energy efficiency."

The states have agreed to allocate the funds in the following manner: Connecticut ($1.8 million), Maryland ($1.2 million), Massachusetts ($3.1 million), New Hampshire ($1.2 million), New Jersey ($4.2 million), New York ($9.5 million), Rhode Island ($1.2 million) and Vermont ($1.8 million).

AEP is also required to pay $15 million in civil penalties and $36 million to fund various environmental improvement projects.

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