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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