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Utility Firm Snaps Up Pollution Permits

Associated Press

Carolina Power & Light Co. cleaned up in a landmark $21.4-million auction of government-approved pollution permits, the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.

The Raleigh, N.C., utility company spent $11.5 million to acquire rights to emit more than 85,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, representing 57% of the 150,010 permits sold, said Brian McLean of the EPA.

Carolina Power said the permits will allow it to delay installing costly anti-pollution devices known as “scrubbers.” Federal regulations require utilities to cut their combined yearly sulfur dioxide emissions to about 9 million tons by the year 2000, down from the 1980 level of about 19 million.

“Our average cost for the allowances was $135, and we project that to make a similar reduction in sulfur dioxide by installing scrubbers would cost us about $500 per ton of sulfur dioxide,” he said.

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