State takes stronger stance on toxic air emissions

Facilities in the state that use fossil fuels—coal-fired power plants, paper mills, furniture factories—will now be subject to stricter monitoring for air toxics under a new ruling by the N.C. Environmental Management Commission.

As reported by the Charlotte Observer, such combustion sources had been exempt in the state while awaiting anticipated federal standards. Legal challenges at the federal level led to independent action on the part of the state. According to the article, some 37 facilities—including four Duke Energy coal-fired plants in Rutherford County—have been identified as potentially releasing more toxics than allowed by the state. The new provisions mean that fossil-fuel facilities will now undergo state review for air-toxic levels every five years.

The commission also voted (9-7) yesterday to require toxic-emission analysis of new or modified combustion sources when they start operation—already a requirement for many other N.C. industries.

— Nelda Holder, associate editor




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