Pollution expert: TVA acts slowly

An expert in air pollution control technology says the Tennessee Valley Authority could move faster to reduce emissions from its coal-fired power plants and that those emissions are unreasonable.

The testimony came Tuesday on the second day of a hearing in U.S. District Court in Asheville in North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper's lawsuit against TVA. The lawsuit accuses the utility of allowing its plants to illegally spew sulfur dioxide, mercury and other chemicals across state lines into North Carolina.

“The responsible thing to do would be to take actions to reduce those emissions at a faster rate,” said Jim Staudt, a consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Staudt testified that TVA emissions are higher than levels required under an N.C. law passed in 2002, according to The Asheville Citizen-Times.

The state has asked a federal judge to order TVA cut pollution from 11 of its coal-fired plants in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama. The utility's lawyer has said it reduced pollution.

Cooper filed the lawsuit in 2006.

U.S. District Court Judge Lacy Thornburg is hearing the case without a jury.