N. C. Environmental Defense Praises Clean Smokestacks Bill

On September 4th, North Carolina Environmental Defense praised members of the N.C.

General Assembly for reaching a compromise on the N.C. Clean Smokestacks

Bill, legislation that will require utility companies to protect public health and the

environment by reducing harmful emissions from the state’s 14 coal-fired power

plants. Revisions to the proposed bill, which had been stalled in the House

Utilities Committee, were announced today by the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Steve

Metcalf and Rep. Martin Nesbitt. These revisions cut the costs of action by

about 50% for businesses and families, while still achieving significant

reductions in smokestack emissions.

“The revised bill is a balanced, fair solution to North Carolina’s worsening air

pollution problem,” said Michael Shore, Southeast air quality manager for North

Carolina Environmental Defense. “Senator Metcalf, Representative Nesbitt, and

Governor Mike Easley deserve credit for their leadership in cleaning up North

Carolina’s dirty air. Now the House of Representatives must act responsibly

and give the Clean Smokestacks Bill its full vote of confidence.”

“The broad coalition of organizations working to pass the Clean Smokestacks

Bill include health, tourism, energy generating utilities, environmentalists, fish

farmers, and many local governments,” said Shore. “But manufacturers and

their powerful lobbyists are fighting the bill.”

The bill is based on the N.C. Clean Smokestacks Plan that was developed by a

statewide environmental coalition. The bill will require emission cuts in

year-round nitrogen oxides by 72% and sulfur dioxide by 73% from 1998 levels.

Controlling these pollutants will also substantially reduce toxic mercury

emissions. The reductions will occur over the next 12 years.

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