New Jersey will use $5 million from settlements with three coal-fired power companies operating in the Midwest to reduce local use of a dry-cleaning chemical identified as a likely carcinogen.
Perchloroethylene is a known central nervous system depressant. Replacing dry-cleaning machines that use it costs $45,000 to $60,000. There are about 1,700 in the state.
The Department of Environmental Protection offers businesses $25,000 with the option of more if they convert to a greener, "wet-cleaning" system. So far, 23 grants have been approved, agency spokesman Lawrence Hajna said.
The bulk of the money comes from settlements in 2005 and 2007 with Ohio Edison and American Electric Power. New Jersey could get $330,000 more from a pending settlement with Duke Energy, Hajna said. The lawsuits were related to air pollution caused by the companies that tracks east and contributes to acid rain and asthma. - Chelsea Conaboy