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Political struggle over tax break for inherited farmland roils congressional budget reconciliation bill

WASHINGTON—Agricultural groups and farm-state lawmakers notched a significant win when U.S. House Democrats chose not to touch a big tax break for inherited property, avoiding for now a confrontation. But opponents remain wary that the idea could come back at any time as Democrats shape their massive $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, and search for ways to help pay for the most significant expansion of the social safety net since the New Deal.

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State Fair exploits legal loopholes to clear-cut 19 acres of forest for a parking lot

There was scant transparency and public engagement for the $30 million land deal, which impinges on Raleigh's Westover-Mt. Vernon neighborhood.

The surveyors’ flags were the first warning. The whine of chainsaws was the second.

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Environment Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Former Army missile plant in Burlington poses “an urgent public health risk”

Private owners neglect the contaminated property, posing an environmental threat to a Black and Latinx neighborhood

This is the second of a two-part story about hazardous contamination at a former missile plant in Burlington that is threatening a predominantly Black and Latinx neighborhood.

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Environment News Policy Watch Investigates

Una antigua planta de misile en Burlington: “un riesgo urgente para la salud pública”

Esta es la segunda entrega de un artículo de dos partes sobre el peligro de contaminación que supone una antigua fábrica de misiles en Burlington para una comunidad predominantemente negra y latina.   El artículo y los documentos ...
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Environment News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Clear and present danger: Former Army missile plant has polluted a Black, Latino neighborhood in Burlington for more than 30 years

Military, private owner have allowed toxic contaminants to fester, avoided penalties while residents bear environmental burden Tattooed in ivy, bound in chain-link fence, Building 16 casts an ominous three-story shadow over several homes along Hilton Road. The window blinds are torn, as if it were sleeping with one eye open.

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Environment Featured Articles

Peligro inminente: Una antigua planta de misiles del Ejército ha contaminado un vecindario negro y latino durante 30 años

El Ejército y los propietarios privados han permitido que los contaminantes tóxicos se enconen sin tener que pagar ninguna multa, mientras los residentes soportan las repercusiones medioambientales. Esta es la primera entrega de un artículo de dos partes ...
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Environment Top Story

Pittsboro commissioners balk at route for North Chatham Park Way

A contentious state road project in Pittsboro hit a detour last week, after town leaders unanimously directed transportation officials to analyze yet another alternate route for the $30 million North Chatham Park Way, one that would avoid lopping off part of the bucolic North Woods neighborhood. 

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Environment News Top Story

Methyl bromide, a neurotoxin that carves holes in the ozone layer, is up for permitting at the Port of Wilmington

The Port of Wilmington is a 284-acre maze of steel, cable and concrete where ships as long as three football fields maneuver through the channel. Cranes hoist shipping containers and stack them like Lego blocks. Inbound or outbound, they are crammed with goods — grains and wood, chemicals and clothes — and are headed for the railroad, the highway, or 26 miles down the river to the open sea.

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Environment News Top Story

Skilled in diplomacy, Elizabeth Biser coasts to NC DEQ Secretary confirmation

As a former lobbyist, Elizabeth Biser is accustomed to corralling the lions and the lambs.  Those diplomatic skills helped Biser win over the Senate Agriculture, Energy and Environment Committee, which today voted to confirm her as the new secretary of the NC Department of Environmental Quality. She will be the first woman to lead the department.

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Environment Top Story

Utilities Commission makes it tougher for companies to charge political expenditures to ratepayers

The NC Utilities Commission closed several, but not all, loopholes in rules prohibiting public utilities, notably Duke Energy, from passing along lobbying and advertising expenses to ratepayers, according to a ruling issued last week. This "discretionary spending" includes advertising that appears on social media, as well as promotional materials that serve only to burnish a utility’s image, compete with other utilities for customers, and are unrelated to providing service to the public.

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Environment News Top Story

Monday numbers: A close look at what’s next now that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been canceled

Feds submit proposal for restoring hundreds of miles of cleared land A little more than a year after Duke Energy and Dominion pulled the plug on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, federal regulators have published a proposed restoration plan for the 600-mile route.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at urban heat mapping in the era of climate change

The white tail of a doe streaked by like the trail of a falling star. A stand of cattails rose from stagnant marsh, their heads as brown as corndogs. Dragonflies — Common Whitetail Skimmers and Banded Pennants — alit on a sweep of swamp rose-mallows. As a volunteer for an urban heat mapping project, I had drawn the long straw and been assigned to the Beaver Marsh Nature Preserve in north Durham.

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Environment Top Story

State officials investigating source of Cleveland County PFAS contamination

Tests show high PFAS levels at site that received contaminated soil from massive Colonial Pipeline spill, as well as nearby stream Julia Hughes was walking her dog near Shelby, in rural Cleveland County, last winter when she spotted a mysterious foam in a culvert by the side of the road.

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Environment News Top Story

Capitol Hill update: Senate Republicans slow infrastructure plan, House passes PFAS bill

U.S. Senate Republicans block advance of bipartisan infrastructure plan, but talks continue WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats’ attempt to start debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan was blocked by Republicans on a party-line vote Wednesday, as lawmakers hustle to wrap up negotiations over drafting that legislation.

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Environment News Top Story

As Congress tries to regulate ‘forever chemicals,’ local water systems push back

WASHINGTON—Local water utilities worried about getting hit with lawsuits and high cleanup costs are stepping up their lobbying of Congress as lawmakers move to regulate toxic chemicals found in drinking water. The bill, the PFAS Action Act of 2021, has garnered bipartisan support and two Michigan lawmakers, Reps. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat, and Fred Upton, a Republican, are expected to bring the measure to the House floor for passage later this week.

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Environment Top Story

Tropical Storm Elsa is headed for NC: Here’s how to learn if you live in a flood zone, near environmental hazards

The first tropical system of the summer, named Elsa, is expected to cause localized flooding in North Carolina tomorrow, as it crosses into Scotland and Richmond counties in the morning and then travels through the central part of the state. Here is a brief tutorial for learning whether you're in a flood zone and what other environmental hazards could lurk below the water.

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