BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AUGUST 21, 2001
Louis Zeller (336) 982-2691
David Mickey (336) 769-0955
Bonnie Ward (910) 259-7041
CITIZENS CALL FOR POWER PLANT POLLUTION REDUCTIONS
NEW FEDERAL RULE WOULD AFFECT HAZE AND HUMAN HEALTH
Today in testimony before the US Environmental Protection Agency in Arlington, Virginia, representatives of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League told federal officials to close the loophole for fossil-fueled electric power plants. The four-state citizens group called on the EPA to reduce air pollutants which reduce visibility in our national parks and which cause thousands of deaths every year.
BREDL Vice President Bonnie Ward spoke at the public hearing today in Arlington. She said, In my home state of North Carolina fourteen coal-fired power plants emit 82% of all the sulfur dioxide pollution, and 1800 people a year die from pollution caused by power plants and other major sources
Louis Zeller, Clean Air Campaign Coordinator for BREDL, said, The impact of the Best Available Retrofit Technology rule would be huge. The six North Carolina plants which would be affected by the BART rule produce between 47% and 61% of the sulfur dioxide emitted from all the coal-fired units in the state. The BART rule would require large reductions of sulfur dioxide at two of the dirtiest plants in North Carolina, Marshall and Belews Creek, and significant reductions at four other plants: Roxboro, Sutton, Asheville, and Cliffside.
BREDL Community Organizer David Mickey, who lives in Winston-Salem, spoke of the ongoing effort by the NC General Assembly to reduce air pollution from power plants. He said, For decades the people of North Carolina have suffered the effects of sulfur dioxide pollution. So far the state has been unable to pass legislation to solve this problem. He added, We must depend on either the EPA or the state government to act to protect human health.
The EPAs BART rule would cut air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, smog and dangerous fine particle pollution from many of the nations oldest coal-burning power plants. These plants have benefit from a loophole in the Clean Air Act which allows them to emit tons of haze-causing air pollution.
In April 1999, EPA took the first step toward restoring clean air in national parks and wilderness areas by establishing a Regional Haze Program. On January 12, 2001, then-president Clinton signed the proposed guidelines. Though they were put on hold shortly after President Bush took office, the process has been moving ahead since May.
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League has members in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, where 33 of 136 fossil-fuel electric power units began operation from 1962 to 1977, the units for which BART requirements would apply. BART would apply to 24% of the existing power plants in the region: 8% of the units in Tennessee, 15% in Virginia, 31% in North Carolina, and 44% in South Carolina.
The EPA will accept written comments until September 18th. To submit comments (identified by the docket number A-2000-28) contact Ms. Nancy Perry, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Air Quality Strategies and Standards Division, MD-15, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, telephone (919) 541-5628.