Environment

Environment

Environment Top Story

Chemical contamination detected in Durham drinking water; new statewide monitoring system proposed

In early spring, Lake Michie stirs to life, with fishers and the Duke University women’s rowing team taking to the water at dawn. The 480-acre reservoir near Bahama is not only a source of largemouth bass, but it is also a boating destination, and it provides Durham with 30 million to 35 million gallons of drinking water each day.

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State officials struggle to keep up as GenX pollution issues spread, grow more complex

Late March is prime spring planting season in North Carolina, and this year, as part of his personal scientific experiment, Mike Watters is sowing not just one garden, but four. Some vegetables will be grown in a greenhouse, irrigated with bottled water and shielded from rain potentially contaminated with GenX.

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Landowners in the path of proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline look to federal judge for relief

A lone Southern yellow pine tree has stood in the middle of Marvin Winstead’s Nash County field for at least 100 years. It is the heart of Winstead’s 70-acre farm, which has been in his family for three generations. The tree has survived hurricanes and tornadoes, cold snaps and heat waves, droughts and floods. But it may not survive the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

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Results from federally mandated tests: Toxics abundant in groundwater near Duke coal ash ponds

Arsenic. Boron. Selenium. Radium. These toxic contaminants, and many others, are profuse in the groundwater near Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds, proving what environmental advocates, neighbors and scientists have long been asserting: The ponds are leaking. The flow of groundwater cannot be controlled. These contaminants are inevitably entering private wells, potentially posing health risks to those drinking the water. And without a statewide, routine monitoring network of private drinking water wells, it is impossible to know the full extent and nature of the contamination.

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Governor’s pipeline MOU could help protect migratory birds; lawmakers still claim it’s an ugly duckling

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is like the obnoxious rich kid in college who has to buy his friends.

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Under pressure from industry, EPA proposes weaker coal ash rules; Duke Energy plans to pass $1 million in industry dues to ratepayers

Duke Energy Carolinas spent more than $1 million in industry dues — expenses the utility wants to pass along to ratepayers —to the Edison Electric Institute, an industry trade group that has successfully advocated for relaxing regulations governing coal ash.

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Environment Top Story

Hundreds pack hearing to keep North Carolina off-limits to offshore drilling

Of the hundreds of people who crammed into a public hearing Tuesday on offshore drilling, only a few veered into a small, quiet suite, where they would be served a buffet dinner and waited on by their personal bartender. The American Petroleum Institute, under the guise “Keep Exploring North Carolina,” held a low-key reception for about 20 drilling supporters, most of them decked out in suits or cocktail attire.

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Environment Top Story

A tollway’s toll: Human, environmental impact of 540 expansion loom large in southern Wake County

Carol Hinske rocked in her porch swing, allowing the sun to toast her skin on an oddly hot winter afternoon. “It feels good on my bones,” she said, smiling, her eyes closed.

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Environment Top Story

As GenX concerns grow, House lawmakers grapple with how to win Senate support

The good news is that the levels of GenX in Wilmington’s drinking water is testing consistently below the state’s provisional health goal. The bad news is that GenX has been detected in the sediment of the Cape Fear River and in rain water at a UNC Wilmington weather station 70 miles from Chemours, a known source of the chemical.

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Environment Top Story

12 years of negligence. 1 million gallons of manure. A $64,000 fine. A Jones County hog farm is out of business — for now.

On a sultry day last September, Megan Stilley arrived at Lanier Farms, a large swine operation in rural Jones County. An environmental specialist with the state’s Division of Water Resources, Stilley investigates complaints of illegal spills and other environmental violations. The people responsible are rarely glad to see her.

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Renewable energy? Legislative committee considers whether NC trees burned in UK and EU should qualify

From the initial roar of a chainsaw to a North Carolina tree’s final incineration in a British power plant, the wood pellet industry disguises itself as a purveyor of renewable energy. But science shows that the practice of burning wood on a utility scale not only damages forest biodiversity but also releases more carbon into the air per megawatt than coal.

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Monday numbers – a closer look at the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Gov. Roy Cooper last week brokered a controversial memorandum of understanding with Dominion Power, which co-owns with Duke Energy, the even more controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Under the agreement, Duke and Dominion will pay a total of $57.8 million to a mitigation fund to pay for the “unavoidable” environmental damage caused by the pipeline, as well as for “support and funding” for economic development and renewable energy in the eight counties in eastern North Carolina affected by the ACP: Northampton, Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland and Robeson.

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Analysis of campaign finance reports: Ag, environmental interests spent generously in second half of 2017

Dominion Energy’s political action committee contributed more than $31,000 to state lawmakers in the final six months of 2017, most of it within 10 days of an override vote on Senate Bill 16. That measure, “Business Regulatory Reform Act of 2017,” contained a key provision for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The omnibus bill allows out-of-state companies, like Virginia-based Dominion, to use eminent domain to secure land to build pipelines.

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Environment Top Story

Where to put NC’s coal ash? Court of Appeals asked to rule on legality of high-profile option

It has been nearly four years since Feb. 2, 2014, when 39,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of contaminated water spilled from a failed impoundment at Duke Energy’s Dan River plant in Eden. And on Wednesday — Day 1,453 since the disaster that forever changed the state’s environmental landscape — a flight of lawyers appeared before a three-judge panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

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Strange bedfellows? Polluters, environmental groups form new coalition to lobby state government

On a cozy autumn evening at the luxurious Umstead Hotel in Cary, a medley of corporate luminaries, state lawmakers and environmentalists made small talk and mingled over drinks. The occasion: the formation of a new “unconventional partnership” with a “bold mission.” North Carolina Forever, said Kathy Higgins, vice president of corporate affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield, “will bring together diverse interests” to encourage “reasonable and necessary investments” in land conservation and water protection.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers

After President Trump announced he would open the entire US coast to offshore drilling – including areas like North Carolina that have long been off-limits -- governors up and down the Eastern Seaboard, immediately condemned the proposal.

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