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Air quality agreement cuts pollution in Carolina

A settlement between environmental groups and Duke Energy will cut pollution out gradually by phasing out over 1,600 mega watts of an outdated, dirty coal-fired power plant.

Under the terms, Duke Energy will slowly retire old coal-powered units that lack modern pollution control technology while meeting customer energy demands. The timeline for retirement is enforceable, thereby ensuring that improvements in air and water quality will be made. However, it will be years before all the changes are made. For homes surrounded by out-dated coal-burning plants, a home air purifier could improve indoor air quality.

"This settlement phases out some of the oldest, dirtiest and most inefficient coal plants in the Carolinas," John Suttles, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represented the groups in court, told the media. "In addition to protecting people's health and saving lives, it also will save ratepayers' money by paving the way for a more efficient and sustainable energy future."

Presently, only the Duke Energy's Cliffside power plant near Shelby, North Carolina, operates under the new strict acid gas controls, with a 99.9 percent reduction in air pollution.

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