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Expert: Reducing pollution would save lives

ASHEVILLE (AP) ó An expert from the Harvard School of Public Health has testified that reducing air pollution from Tennessee Valley Authority plants would save the lives of almost 100 North Carolina residents a year.
Jonathan Levy is an associate professor of environmental health and risk assessment. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports he testified Friday in the lawsuit brought by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.
U.S. District Court Judge Lacy Thornburg is hearing the case without a jury.
Cooper wants the TVA to cut pollution from its 11 coal-fired power plants in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama. The state argues that emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury drift from nearby states into North Carolina, hurting air quality and the economy.
Levy says if scrubbers and other pollution control technology were in place, North Carolina would see 99 fewer premature deaths annually from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. He also testified there would be 19,000 fewer asthma attacks, 60 fewer hospital admissions, 55 fewer emergency room visits related to asthma and 2,300 fewer lost school days.
Levy described the estimates as being ěreasonable and reliableî as based on the ěbest available science.î
The lawsuit asks that TVA be required to abide by the same pollution limits as North Carolina utilities.
TVA has said it emits 374,000 tons of sulfur dioxide a year, compared to the 875,000 it put out a decade ago. Previous testimony showed TVA could emit no more than 140,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and 60,000 tons of nitrogen oxides annually if it met state law.
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Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com.

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