News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news

Stats argue for cleaner TVA, experts say

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Environmental and health experts supporting North Carolina’s lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority are offering glimpses of how they think the country would look if more pollution controls were added to the authority’s power plants.

Some say the views in the Great Smoky Mountains would improve by more than 10 miles on the smoggiest days.

Others think children in the state would miss 2,300 fewer days of school each year.

And fewer people would die prematurely — in the East and Midwest, that would be about 1,400 fewer a year.

The reports and the statistics they contain are all included in the lawsuit scheduled for trial this fall.

The files show, according to the experts, what North Carolina and other states in the Southeast could look forward to if the TVA met tougher standards such as those required of North Carolina’s own power plants.

“These expert reports show that pollution from TVA has a devastating impact on the air we breathe and the health of North Carolinians,” state Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement.

Filed last year, North Carolina’s lawsuit claims that pollutants from the TVA’s 11 coal-fired power plants in Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee have blown across the mountains and that North Carolina residents have suffered health problems as a result.

The pollutants have also harmed the state’s environment and economy, the lawsuit states.

TVA officials dispute the reports contained in the lawsuit. They point to the $4.6 billion the utility has spent in the past 30 years to reduce emissions.

Utility officials say the TVA complies with federal laws and also point out the $1.2 billion being spent on pollution controls at three plants in eastern Tennessee.

The closest plant to North Carolina, the John Sevier plant in Rogersville, Tenn., will get scrubbers beginning in 2008.

The TVA has asked federal court to dismiss the lawsuit.

It claims its status as a federal agency makes it immune from nuisance lawsuits.

A lower court has already rejected the dismissal motion.

Nineteen states have field motions supporting North Carolina in opposing an appeal made by the utility.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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