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NC Dept of Environment and Natural Resources to Limit Pollutants from the New Cliffside Power Plant

The press release from the North Carolina Dept of Environment and Natural Resources follows below…

Michael F. Easley, Governor William G. Ross Jr., Secretary

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Release: Immediate Contact: Diana Kees
Date: June 2, 2008 Phone: (919) 715-4112


RALEIGH – The proposed coal-fired power plant at Cliffside Steam Station in Rutherford County must have the maximum achievable limits on hazardous air pollutants including mercury, the state Division of Air Quality (DAQ) informed Duke Energy today.

“DAQ has concluded that a formal public process consistent with the Clean Air Act … should now be initiated to ensure that the permit contains the most stringent limits on hazardous air pollutants that are in fact achievable,” DAQ Director Keith Overcash wrote in a letter to Duke.

The division issued an air quality permit to Duke Energy in January 2008 for a new 800-megawatt boiler at its Cliffside Steam Station near Forest City, with conditions that will lead to substantial reductions in the facility’s emissions of key pollutants despite a large increase in electric power production.

After DAQ issued the Cliffside permit, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned the federal Clean Air Mercury Rule, concluding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acted inappropriately in exempting coal-fired power plants from portions of the Clean Air Act that deal with the control of hazardous air pollutants.

The court’s decision means that all new coal-fired power plants must demonstrate that they use the most stringent or “maximum achievable” controls for mercury and other hazardous air pollutants. Although opinions differ as to whether the courts will apply this ruling to permits issued before the court decision, the DAQ has concluded that it is in the public’s best interest to ensure that the new Cliffside unit meets that standard.

“There is an ongoing national debate over the impact of the decision. In particular, opinions differ about whether the ruling affects a previously issued permit under which construction has begun but is not completed,” Overcash wrote. “Whatever the outcome of that debate, the Division of Air Quality must be assured that the recently permitted Cliffside Unit 6 incorporates emissions limitations for mercury and other hazardous air pollutants that are the most stringent achievable for such a source.”

The permit for Cliffside Unit 6 issued in January 2008 will result in significant reductions in total emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and mercury in spite of the increased power production. The permit also requires Duke to mitigate the plant’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions even though neither state nor federal regulations currently require industries to control their emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

More information about the Duke Cliffside permit can be found online at HYPERLINK “” Additional information about other air quality issues can be found at the DAQ Web site, HYPERLINK “”


Office of Public Affairs Diana Kees, Director
Phone (919) 715-4112 FAX (919) 715-5181
1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1601
An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer





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