Environmental Defense Praises Smokestacks Announcement

On April 25th, North Carolina Environmental Defense praised Gov. Mike Easley for spearheading negotiations that could lead to passage of the Clean Smokestacks Bill. Easley announced progress on the bill at a morning news conference in Raleigh.

"We salute Governor Easley for his commitment to cleaning up North Carolina's dirty air and his efforts to help all parties negotiate a strong bill," said Michael Shore, Southeast air quality manager for the Raleigh-based advocacy group. "Although details must still be worked out, Governor Easley is helping resolve the cost issue that hampered the bill's progress in the House, while advocating for the bill's high rates of pollution reduction already approved by the Senate."

"Governor Easley's leadership is paving the way for the Clean Smokestacks Bill to be the first order of business when the General Assembly convenes in May," said Shore. "Governor Easley, legislators and all the parties involved still have a lot of work to do to ensure passage, but there's no doubt that today's announcement is a major step toward cleaner air and safeguarding public health in North Carolina."

"It's time for legislators to vote 'yes' for clean air, pass this bill and protect public health. Doing so will establish North Carolina as a leader in the Southeast in cleaning up pollution from outdated, coal-fired power plants," said Jane Preyer, director of N.C. Environmental Defense.

"When Southeastern governors meet on May 10 in Charlotte for a regional air summit, they can use the Clean Smokestacks Bill as a model for reducing harmful pollutants in their home states. Given the Bush administration's positions on air quality, it is clear that leadership at the state level is needed if we are to make progress in cleaning up our air," said Preyer.

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