(Smoky Mountain News) Western North Carolina for now has dodged concerns that it was getting short shrift in a legal settlement intended to compensate the region for air pollution blowing in from dirty coal plants operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority in neighboring states.
In a federal lawsuit waged and won by the state of North Carolina against TVA, the utility was not only ordered to install modern pollution controls on its dirtiest plants, but it also had to pay out $11.2 million to go toward projects that address air quality in North Carolina. The settlement stipulated that Western North Carolina, which feels the brunt of the pollution wafting in, would be first in line for the money.
Only $4.5 million has been paid out so far, with the rest to come in later payments.
That first $4.5 million, however, was slated to head downstate instead of to WNC in the original version of the state budget passed recently by the General Assembly.
Of the $4.5 million, the budget specified that $2.24 million would go to N.C. Biofuels in Oxford and the other $2.24 million to the N.C. Department of Agriculture for to-be-determined projects.
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