Environment

Environment

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PW exclusive: Investigation shows NC pension funds hold stock in GenX polluter, Chemours

Despite concerns, Treasurer Dale Folwell maintains state investments in much-criticized company that polluted the Cape Fear All winter long, it seemed, there was a spill. A leak. An “accident.”  Throughout 2017 and 2018, the Chemours Fayetteville Works plant discharged and emitted GenX, a toxic compound, into the air, the Cape Fear River, and the groundwater, polluting the drinking water supply for hundreds of thousands of people.

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PW exclusive: North Carolina energy magazine censors references to climate change

Publication of state electric cooperatives directs author to "steer clear" of "political topics" like climate change

Do you remember when October was chilly enough for a bonfire? When the streets of Wilmington didn’t flood on sunny days? And for the drought-stricken two-thirds of the state, do you remember when it used to rain?

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North Carolina sends conflicting messages on burning wood as fuel

DEQ approves expansion of wood pellet facility a week after declaring industry fails to advance state's clean energy goals In a strongly worded passage in its Clean Energy Plan, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has rejected the idea that burning trees for fuel qualifies as low-carbon...

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How a Trump attack on the federal “Waters of the United States” rule imperils the waters of North Carolina

This is a place where the Atlantic Ocean begins: A yawning storm pipe draped by kudzu about a half-mile south of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Little more than a murky ditch, the shallow stream winds south, beneath the American Tobacco Trail bridge, behind a strip mall, and past two gas stations, to Forest Hills Park.  To illustrate the connections between Durham’s lowly downtown ditch to the coast, if you floated a paper boat from the headwaters in Forest Hills, its 150-mile journey would run south through Third Fork Creek, which in turn merges with New Hope Creek, which flows into Jordan Lake, a drinking water supply for hundreds of thousands of people. The boat would skim over the dam and into the Cape Fear River, which travels through southeastern North Carolina and spills into the Atlantic south of Wilmington.

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Doing the math on Duke Energy’s “climate strategy” — and its campaign contributions

Duke Energy calls its new net-zero carbon emissions plan a "directional beacon," but for critics of the utility, the proposal is blind to the drivers of climate change. Tuesday's announcement from the energy titan offered no hard-and-fast numbers in which to hold the utility accountable, stating only that by 2050, Duke will have phased out coal.

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DuPont tested Fayetteville workers’ blood, found elevated levels of PFAS

Congressional testimony this week by DuPont, Chemours and 3M was damning Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida, glared with the intensity of a welder’s torch at top officials from three chemical titans — DuPont, Chemours and 3M — seated at a table in a congressional hearing room.

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Environmental Management Commission approves new compost rules; PW investigation spurs regulators

State environmental regulators will have the power to require most composting facilities to test for emerging contaminants, including perfluorinated compounds (PFAS) and 1,4-Dioxane, according to new rules approved today. The Environmental Management Commission this morning voted to amend and readopt state rules over the 50 composters regulated by the Division of Waste Management.

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Monday numbers: Another not-so-bright idea from the Trump administration

Energy Department to roll back rules on energy-efficient light bulbs Methane, coal ash, tailpipe emissions, toxic releases, pesticides, endangered species: Since President Trump took office in January 2017, his administration has rolled back...

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To buy out or rebuild? Hurricane Dorian shines a spotlight on the future of NC’s low-lying coast

Forty-eight hours before the arms of Hurricane Dorian locked on the coast, North Topsail Beach in Onslow County sounded like an untuned symphony. The roar of the ocean lay down a musical bed for the shrieks of seagulls, a concussion of hammers and the caterwauls of power saws.

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PW special report: Our wetlands and streams are worth saving. But it’s incredibly hard to do.

Over the next two weeks, Policy Watch will publish a series of stories about a commonly used method of environmental protection for wetlands and streams called “compensatory mitigation.” The federal Clean Water Act requires developers of residential, commercial, transportation and energy projects to offset “unavoidable impacts” to streams or wetlands.

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Environmental test results are in for controversial Aberdeen Elementary School site in Moore County

Lead detected in groundwater at above EPA “action level” Next August, more than 600 students will step inside a gleaming, new Aberdeen Elementary School for the first time, likely unaware of the low — albeit still present — ...
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As climate crisis worsens, Cooper administration proposes ambitious clean energy plan

The last time the Earth experienced a July this hot was well, we don’t know for sure. Such extremes occurred long before humans began keeping records.  Two-thousand nineteen will go down as the year of climatic rage: of heat, of floods, of drought, of carbon dioxide, whose atmospheric levels are the highest in three million years.

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Plastic is not fantastic: Durham considers 10-cent fee on single-use bags

They clutter the gutters and girdle the turtles. They snag in the trees and float in the seas.  Plastic bags are strangling the planet. To reduce the amount of plastic waste in Durham, the city-county Environmental Affairs Board last week unanimously endorsed a proposed draft ordinance that would assess a 10-cent fee on most single-use plastic and paper bags, as well as Styrofoam containers, at many food and retail outlets.

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PW exclusive: Documents reveal years of illegal dumping near Falls Lake

Complex rules, poor coordination by regulators have allowed single property owner to put Raleigh's water supply in harm's way First, the land suffocating under 40 feet of dirt and construction trash was to become a horse pasture. But no horses ever arrived.

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Monday numbers: A closer look at 1,4-Dioxane levels in the Cape Fear

Levels of 1,4-Dioxane, which the EPA has linked to cancer, increased for a fourth straight month in raw water entering the Cape Fear River Authority’s Sweeney plant in Wilmington, according to the utility.

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Pork giant Murphy-Brown battling insurers over who should pay for hog nuisance verdicts

If you drive through eastern North Carolina some days, especially in the wet heat of a summer afternoon, you might become immersed in the stench of hog waste. Many farmers hail it as the smell of money. Some neighbors of the industrialized swine operations denounce it as the foul air of misery. But for Murphy-Brown and their insurance companies, the odor represents nearly $100 million in damages and legal fees from hog nuisance lawsuits that as it stands today, somebody will have to pay.

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