BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
PO Box 88 ~
Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone
(336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2008
Louis Zeller (336) 977-0852
Sue Dayton (336) 525-2003
Beverly Kerr (336) 376-9060
GROUP TAKES AIM AT AIR POLLUTION
Today at a Durham press conference, the Blue
Ridge Environmental Defense League released a report aimed at
preventing North Carolina from exempting from regulation more
than 1400 air pollution sources. The study Poison Loophole
details the dangers of toxic air pollution from coal plants,
paper mills and asphalt plants.
According to the study, Progress Energys Roxboro coal plant
is among the most dangerous industrial boilers with levels of
arsenic exceeding state acceptable ambient levels (AALs) by a
factor of 16.5 times and chromium-VI by a factor of 9 times. And
the excess levels extend into populated areas nearly a mile and a
half from the plant.
Other findings are that the proposed Cliffside power plant would
exceed the existing health-based limits for arsenic and chromium
emissions a half a mile from the plant. The Trigen-Biopower plant
in Forest City violates state limits for acrolein, manganese,
benzene and dioxin. The Jackson Paper mill in Sylva may exceed
state toxics limits by up to 62% for benzene while burning wood
fuel and by 15% for chromium VI and 117% for arsenic while
burning coal. Toxic formaldehyde levels are indicated at 600
meters from the Maymead asphalt plant in Pineola.
Louis Zeller, who authored the study, said, North Carolina
has one of the best health-based air pollution programs in the
nation, but this exemption would gut it. Zeller added,
We are asking our state government to choose public health
over corporate profits.
Sue Dayton, Coordinator of the Leagues NC Healthy
Communities Project, said, It is particularly disturbing
that the exemption gives industry an open door to continue to
pollute under economic hardship. There are no hardship clauses to
protect the health of the citizens of North Carolina who will
breathe these poisons.
Beverly Kerr is a member of Be Safe Not Sorry and an Alamance
County business owner. She said, If they cannot meet the
standards, then, they must add pollution controls. Would it cost
these industries more money to add pollution controls? Even so,
it must be done!
The proposed loophole would make permanent a temporary
exemption adopted by the EMC ten years ago. The NC Division of
Air Quality justifies the proposed deregulation with a flawed
study of the 1400+ sources. The fatal flaw in DAQs report
is that it is based on inhalation only. In contrast, the states
health-based toxic air pollution limits are based on two decades
of research and analysis by the NC Science Advisory Board whose
conclusions consider all human exposure pathways.
The Leagues position is that these industries can meet the
health-based pollution limits if they cut back production,
install pollution controls, or adopt cleaner processes. The
organizations are encouraging local governments and other groups
to request public hearings in Asheville and Wilmington. The
public comments period ends December 31st. Early next year the NC
Environmental Management Commission will decide whether to
approve the loophole.
The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League is a statewide,
community-based non-profit organization founded in 1984.
More info: Download the study Poison