North Carolina Sues TVA, Citing Air Pollution as Public Nuisance
RALEIGH, N.C. North Carolina's attorney general sued the Tennessee Valley Authority on Monday, accusing the nation's largest federal utility of causing a public nuisance in his state by failing to reduce pollution from its coal-fired power plants.
"What we're asking for in this case is to stop a particular utility company from sending specific pollution into our state and harming our people and our economy," Attorney General Roy Cooper said.
Cooper, who had threatened such action for years, claims TVA has not taken enough steps to reduce the sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and soot that has wafted into North Carolina from 11 coal-burning plants in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.
The lawsuit said TVA was creating a "common law public nuisance," because the pollution damaged public health and obstructed public rights.
But TVA Chairman Bill Baxter said the utility already complies with all federal clean-air laws and has done more than North Carolina utilities to install scrubbers to capture harmful pollutants. He said TVA raised its rates in 2003 as part of a program to spend $5.6 billion on pollution controls, and has since cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 70 percent and is on schedule to cut sulfur emissions by 85 percent by 2010.
Sulfur dioxide leads to acid rain that kills plants and the regional haze that reduces scenic views in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 30 miles away on the Tennessee-North Carolina border.
TVA supplies electricity to about 8.5 million people in most of Tennessee and parts of North Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Virginia.
In 2004, eight states and New York City sued TVA and four more of the country's largest power producers to demand they cut carbon dioxide emissions, which are believed to be linked to global warming. That federal case was dismissed in September.
Source: Associated Press