The Central Indiana Land Trust Inc. has been awarded a $600,000 grant from American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), parent of Fort Wayne-based Indiana Michigan Power. The trust says the funds will enable it to purchase and protect the 60-acre Meltzer Woods Preserve in Shelby County and Johnson County’s Hills of Gold Conservation Area.

The funds come from AEP under a legal settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eight states and 13 citizen groups.

“These funds will allow us to protect more of Indiana’s natural heritage in areas that have unparalleled biodiversity and significance,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of CILTI. “We’re delighted to have this opportunity to make these areas available for study and enjoyment forever.”

The settlement included an agreement by AEP to invest $3.5 million to improve air quality and to reduce pollution in Indiana through various projects.

The AEP settlement funds are being overseen by a committee that includes Citizens Action Coalition, Clean Air Council and Indiana Wildlife Federation.

Earlier this month, IIB reported the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s conservation program was the recipient of a $500,000 grant from AEP under a legal settlement.

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