In an order signed Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Lacy Thornburg ruled that pollution from the nation’s largest public utility constitutes a “public nuisance” and must be cleaned up.
N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper brought the lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority in January 2006. Cooper argued that the wafting pollution created health problems for North Carolinians, spoiled the environment and ruined mountain views critical to the state’s economy. TVA officials have argued that the utility has spent billions to reduce emissions and that pollution produced by North Carolina’s own coal-fired plants poses an even more significant threat to the state’s air quality.
In his ruling, Thornburg ordered the TVA to clean up the Bull Run, Kingston and John Sevier plants in Tennessee and the Widows Creek plant in Alabama. The four plants are within 100 miles of North Carolina. The judge denied North Carolina’s request that seven other plants face similar clean-up requirements.
Click here to go to the Xpress Files to read Judge Thornburg’s 51-page opinion and seven-page judgment.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor