Commentary: Stronger EPA is good news for North Carolina

This editorial appeared in The (Raleigh) News & Observer.

There's some fresh air blowing through the Environmental Protection Agency these days, along with signals that in the Obama administration, the agency will no longer be treated like a poor relation at the family reunion. For North Carolina, which under Attorney General Roy Cooper has long sought to curb air pollutants drifting into the state from coal-burning utilities in other states, this is good news.

After five years worth of battle, the EPA has been directed by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington to reconsider North Carolina's petition to determine whether the agency should clamp down on those other states. Pollution from power plant smokestacks has an impact from Eastern North Carolina to the Great Smoky Mountains.

The EPA had rejected this state's request for action based on a Bush administration rule that now has been overturned by the courts. Cooper believes the latest development is a great one, and notes that the court directed quick action from the EPA. The state has fought for its petition under what is a fairly simple and sensible principle: the federal Clean Air Act requires states to prevent emissions produced within their borders from adding to the pollution in another state.

To read the complete editorial, visit The (Raleigh) News & Observer.