|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||January 29, 2008|
|Contact:||Stephanie Kodish, National Parks Conservation Association, 865.329.2424, ext. 28|
National Parks Conservation Association Says Power Plant Could Threaten Great Smoky Mountains
Press Statement By NPCA Managing Attorney Stephanie Kodish
"Today, the state of North Carolina granted Duke Energy permission to build a massive coal-fired power plant unit that could foul the air in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While permit improvements have been made that could lessen impacts on the Smokies, no one can know for sure because the state has excused Duke from fully analyzing the fate of its pollution.
The National Park Service advised North Carolina officials that Duke's emissions would increase hazy skies, worsen acid rain, and deposit large amounts of toxic mercury in the Smokies. The state responded by requiring Duke to obtain emissions 'offsets' from other factories, but there's no guarantee that benefits will be realized downwind at the Smokies.
Requiring Duke to reduce overall pollution is a step in the right direction, but it's an incomplete step. If state officials truly believe the new permit will protect the Smokies, why don't they require Duke to do a full analysis?
As one of our nation's most visited national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a variety of recreational opportunities, irreplaceable memories for visitors, and economic benefits. Moving forward with this power plant without understanding its impacts on one of our national treasures is simply irresponsible."