Our facilities are subject to environmental regulatory and permitting requirements for which we must demonstrate compliance. Our goal is zero enforcement actions. We are also subject to routine environmental inspections of our facilities through scheduled – and unannounced – visits. During these visits, regulators inspect physical facilities and monitor our compliance with regulatory requirements, permit limits and record-keeping obligations.
Whenever agencies identify concerns, we proactively work with them to address those issues in a timely fashion to their satisfaction. If enforcement actions are initiated, we work with the regulatory agency to resolve those actions and identify and implement any corrective measures that may be needed to mitigate future risks by preventing recurrences.
One of many voluntary actions we take to help drive continuous performance improvement is the use of an internal Environmental Performance Index for our generation business. We recorded six incidents in 2015. The index monitors incidents for opacity, water quality permits and oil and chemical spills at our power plants.
In our Transmission business, we developed a mandatory environmental compliance training program and provide support from environmental specialists to ensure all transmission-related construction projects are built in full compliance with environmental permit requirements.
Checks and Balances
We use our environmental, safety and health management system to improve our environmental performance and to measure, track and report our progress. By applying the principles of the ISO 14001 standard to managing environmental performance, we enable a cycle of continuous improvement that helps diminish the risk of compliance incidents.
One way we check our compliance is through internal audits. Audits provide additional focus on controlling risks and providing assurance that robust compliance processes are developed and implemented system-wide. In 2015, we conducted internal audits of our environmental management programs at 20 locations and a system-wide audit for environmental programs compliance at station construction sites.
Our responsibility to environmental compliance will continue for requirements that remain effective at AEP-owned properties where generating units have been retired. This includes many existing state environmental requirements, in particular, those related to the management of water and coal-combustion byproducts. We continue to work with regulators to amend permits as we move through the decommissioning process.
ESH Policy & Philosophy
Environment, Safety & Health Philosophy
No aspect of operations is more important than the health and safety of people. Our customers’ needs are met in harmony with environmental protection.
Environment, Safety & Health Policy
AEP is committed to social responsibility and sustainability. We are proactive in our efforts to protect people and the environment by committing to:
- Maintain compliance with all applicable ES&H requirements while pursuing the spirit of ES&H stewardship;
- Ensure that people working for or on behalf of AEP understand and integrate ES&H responsibilities into their business functions;
- Support continual improvement of environmental performance and pollution prevention; and
- Hazard elimination through employee involvement and continual health and safety improvement.