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Mixed Responses in NC to Clean Power Plan, Court Ruling

PHOTO: A federal appeals court has upheld the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, just as the EPA announced its Clean Power Plan. Gov. McCrory says he'll fight the latter. Photo credit: wallyir/morguefile.com.
PHOTO: A federal appeals court has upheld the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, just as the EPA announced its Clean Power Plan. Gov. McCrory says he'll fight the latter. Photo credit: wallyir/morguefile.com.
August 5, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan is making headlines this week, but clean-energy advocates say it isn't the only news event related to a greener way of producing power.

A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which reduces emissions from coal-fired power plants in 28 eastern states including North Carolina, to cut down on pollution migrating across state borders.

Terry Lansdell, Clean Air Carolina's program director, said asking states to work together in this way will mean real change in air quality.

"It provides the impetus to really make a wholesale change in how we produce energy, not only in North Carolina but across the region and across America," he said, "and it supports the efforts to promote the Clean Power Plan, as just announced by the White House."

The EPA's Clean Power Plan calls for a 32 percent reduction in greenhouse gases from power plants by 2030 and requires each state to submit a plan to meet those goals. Gov. Pat McCrory has said his administration plans to challenge the final rule in court, contending that it will raise electricity rates for consumers.

With North Carolina's Duke Energy announcing the retirement of some coal-fired power plants in the state, most recently in Asheville, June Blotnick, Clean Air Carolina's executive director, said the Clean Power Plan will enable the state to continue its momentum.

"North Carolina has been a leader over the years when it comes to air-quality regulations and rules," she said, "and the Clean Power Plan is an opportunity for us to just continue that progress."

While North Carolina has taken a hard line in some cases about environmental regulation, Lansdell said, tougher rules haven't seemed to hold the state back in terms of economic development.

"North Carolina has grown its industry, has grown its economy, by threefold in the past few decades," he said. "Its population still increases. We are not suffering from this regulatory environment; we are thriving in this regulatory environment."

Information on the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is online at epa.gov.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC