Duke Energy‘s $2.4-billion 800-megawatt Cliffside power plant in Rutherford County has been determined by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to require maximum pollution controls — meaning the most stringent controls available. The June 2 DENR decision stems from the resolution of a federal law dispute involving the Clean Air Act, according a report today in The News & Observer of Raleigh. The plant had originally been designed with best available technology, considered less stringent than the maximum requirement.
As explained in the article, environmental organizations had filed suit against DENR for issuing the original air permit. The standards now being applied by DENR would potentially affect mercury releases as well as some 50 more hazardous pollutants. DENR Secretary Bill Ross says his agency has asked for an additional technical analysis, which could take three to six months for Duke to complete. The company has until June 13 to respond to the ruling. (See related Xpress story, “Cliffside Permit Illegal, Environmentalists Charge.”)
— Nelda Holder, associate editor