Statement of May 10 by State Sen. Charles Carter on the legislature's proposals to improve air quality in the N.C. mountains:
"This week I learned that even as the state is trying to move this effort forward, the federal government might be taking steps backward.
"Recent news stories have reported that coal and power industries are lobbying the National Energy Policy Development Group, headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, to relax federal air pollution controls on older coal-burning power plants across the nation. Easing those standards would increase pollution from the out-of-state sources that contribute to air problems in our mountains.
"As you may know, more than 80 percent of mountain air pollution comes from out-of-state sources - mainly TVA - and is linked to environmental damage, reduced visibility and increases in asthma and other diseases in Western North Carolina.
"We have already urged Congress and the president to strengthen - not weaken - air quality controls on these plants. I invite you to do the same - Rep. Taylor's e-mail address is RepCharles.Taylor@mail.house.gov. Let him know weakening standards for power plants is bad for our mountain community.
"Western North Carolinians have suffered enough - it's time for out-of-state polluters to clean up their act. Our health, our environment and our economy depend on it."