Environmental groups are praising tougher emission standards for power plants that a state panel approved yesterday.
The decision by the state Environmental Management Commission improves reduction rules for mercury emissions at power plants that
exceed federal standards.
When combined with earlier pollution limits, the decision should dramatically reduce releases of the toxins by 2018.
The changes build on the state's 2002 Clean Smokestacks Act that targeted nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions from 14 coal-fired power plants. The plants are a major source of smog and particle pollution in North Carolina.