We all have to breathe to live, and the good news is that here in Western North Carolina, the quality of the air we all share is much better than it was just a few years ago. Across North Carolina, government employees are monitoring air quality and the associated health risks to make sure they stay within specified legal parameters. Meanwhile, citizen volunteers are also collecting data and working to make more information available to the public.
A public hearing on Duke Energy’s Lake Julian air-permit renewal is scheduled this Wednesday, April 29 — on the heels of an announced $30 million boost to the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” initiative.
On Jan. 11, the U.S. Appeals Court, Fourth District, upheld a jury’s judgment that the board of the WNC Air Quality Agency discriminated against Melanie Pitrolo when it passed over her for a key promotion in 2005. The ruling overturns a District Court finding that had reversed the jury and allowed Buncombe County — which oversees the agency — to compel Pitrolo to pay its legal costs. Now, Pitrolo may get to recoup her legal costs from the county.