CANTON, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's water regulators are sticking up for a big paper mill in a dispute with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Friday that the state Division of Water Quality says Evergreen Packaging's mill in Canton cannot meet EPA demands that the plant do more to stop turning the Pigeon River dark.
The state agency says the cost would be too great to install equipment to meet color limits the EPA has proposed.
Communities downstream in Tennessee also want stronger limits on what the mill pumps into the river.
The plant employs about 1,000 in the North Carolina mountains, and has struggled for years to stay profitable.
The plant previously was owned by Champion International.