First the Good News
News just came in yesterday that Duke Energy Corporation’s controversial Cliffside power plant will have to undergo a full environmental assessment of its coal-fired generator that is currently under construction in North Carolina. A federal judge ruled that Duke was in violation of the Clean Air Act for failing to adequately regulate toxic air pollution from the plant – and now has 60 days to complete a Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) analysis to determine how to control mercury and other hazardous air pollutant emissions to the maximum extent possible. This is great news to the many activists who have been struggling to stop construction of this new coal fired power plant, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Southern Environmental Law Center, Environmental Defense Fund, National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
This decision effectively closes a loophole that had allowed other plants to ignore pollution requirements, and we at RAN are optimistic that this ruling will help put an end to coal-power companies trampling environmental laws that exist to protect all of us – and hopefully be yet another nail in dirty coal’s coffin.
Now the Bad News
George Bush’s legacy is in the news a lot lately, and unfortunately the news got bad for those of us trying to stop mountain top removal coal mining. In one of his last acts before leaving office, Bush’s white house approved changes to the Stream Buffer Zone rule that will make it easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop removal mining operations into nearby streams and valleys. This change undermines the Clean Water Act and will weaken environmental standards for mountain top removal mining operations. Appalachian activists have been working to stop mountaintop removal mining because of its total destruction of mountains, valleys and streams, which impact both air and water quality for nearby residents.
RAN is working with our Appalachian allies to respond to this decision and we are motivated now more than ever to stop mountain top removal coal mining!