N. Carolina imposes strict pollution controls on coal plant

Four months after approving a controversial coal-burning power plant in the Blue Ridge foothills, North Carolina environmental regulators said Monday that Duke Energy must show that it will be the cleanest coal plant in the nation.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said that maximum pollution controls are required by the federal Clean Air Act. The federal law had been in dispute and was not applied in January when the agency originally issued an air quality permit for Duke's Cliffside plant.

Environmental groups that have been trying to kill the Cliffside project for more than a year say that the new controls could be 10 times stricter than current requirements.

Now the state's biggest energy company faces the prospect of having to modify the $2.4 billion power plant's design, and further increase its cost.

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