“The evidence,” reads a trial brief prepared by the Tennessee Valley Authority, “will establish that North Carolina is not suffering any significant harm to its air quality — as required to establish a nuisance — no matter what the source of pollution in the State’s air.” That section of the 88-page brief, titled “North Carolina is Not Suffering Significant Harm to its Air Quality,” goes on to reference public announcements of improved air quality in North Carolina.
As the federal trial in the case of N.C. v. TVA continues at the U.S. District Court in downtown Asheville, with experts battling over whether or not TVA’s air pollution has created a public nuisance in our state, the backdrop is smoggy. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the ozone forecast for Asheville’s ridge tops is orange; in the valleys, it’s yellow — and neither is good. An orange day essentially means that active children and adults — especially people with asthma or other respiratory problems — should limit their outdoor exertion. A yellow day means that unusually sensitive people should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion, according to the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency. And in Buncombe County, no open burning is allowed at this time.
— Rebecca Bowe, contributing editor