Environment

Environment

Environment Top Story

Residents voice passionate opposition to proposed methyl bromide operation; regulators remain tight-lipped

Right now in Shenzhen, which, with 12 million people is the fastest-growing city in China, a young couple perhaps is touring a prospective new home, admiring its varnished ochre floors made from Southern yellow pine. They likely are unaware of the origin story of that pine.

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Environment Top Story

PW exclusive: Unregistered agents pushing landowners to make way for proposed central NC gas pipeline

On a recent spring afternoon, Kelly and Daniel Bollinger were checking in on one of their fields, zigzagging on foot between furrows where Daniel had just planted pine seeds. “There’s one,” Daniel said, pointing to a finger-size conifer that had taken root and begun to grow.

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Environment

Department of Labor records document dangerous conditions inside Chemours facility

Despite severe worker injuries in 2013 incident, Department of Labor fines were minimal On Halloween afternoon in 2013, a worker at DuPont's Fayetteville Works plant was replacing a valve in a room that produces membranes containing Nafion. This is the same perfluorinated compound that for years flowed through an illegal, unlined "Nafion ditch" from the facility into the Cape Fear River and downstream to Wilmington's drinking water supply.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: More bad news about methyl bromide

If Malec Brothers Transport, over vehement community opposition, does receive a state air permit to send methyl bromide into the air, the company would be the largest emitter of that highly toxic chemical in the state.

In fact, Malec Brothers's annual methyl bromide emissions -- in the tiny town of Delco, in Columbus County -- would be 33 to 40 times the total amount emitted statewide.

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Environment Top Story

PW exclusive: Foreign company proposes to emit 140 tons of “super pollutant” each year in southeastern NC

Ashley Niquetta went to services last Sunday at Evergreen AME Zion Church in Delco -- the church she attended as a child -- and gave a talk about pollution. Not just any pollution, but the 140 tons of methyl bromide emissions that could be emitted into the air in around Delco, a hamlet in Columbus County, 18 miles west of Wilmington.

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Environment Top Story

Attacking the messenger: GOP lawmakers unhappy with GenX reports from UNCW scientist, Cape Fear utility official

Several Republican lawmakers want to hear good news about GenX and emerging contaminants, even apparently, if it’s not true. At the House Select Committee on River Quality last week, Reps. Jimmy Dixon, Larry Yarborough, Scott Stone, and Pat McElraft assailed a UNC Wilmington scientist and the head of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, alleging they were intentionally emphasizing bad news about emerging contaminants, and were essentially failing to be cheerleaders for Chemours.

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Environment Top Story

Proposed loosening of coal ash rules draws overwhelming opposition at EPA hearing

Clutching a toy panda bear for comfort, 8-year-old Alivia Hopkins had traveled from Illinois to stand atop this chair in the Washington Ballroom of the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Arlington, Va.

A Daisy Scout, Hopkins wore badges on her sash, tassels on her knee socks and a bow in her hair. Before a panel of three Environmental Protection Agency officials, she peered over the podium and delivered a speech, imploring them not to weaken federal coal ash rules.

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Environment Top Story

NC State scientists: GenX will be in Cape Fear River, tap water for years to come; health effects need more study

The Cape Fear River is damaged, contaminated by decades of human malfeasance, negligence and ignorance.

For those reasons, NC State University scientists told a crowd of 75 New Hanover County residents last night, it will be years before their tap water is completely free of GenX and other fluorinated compounds.

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Environment

DEQ, Duke agree on (small) penalty for illegal leaks from coal ash basins

Duke Energy has been fined $156,000 for 21 illegal seeps from coal ash basins at its Allen, Marshall and Cliffside/Rogers plants, according to a Special Order of Consent unanimously approved by the Environmental Management Commission today.

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Environment Top Story

You can’t photograph a smell: Lawyers, witnesses debate hog farm stench at Smithfield nuisance trial

There were no scratch ’n’ sniff cards. No fetid fragrance strips like those frequently found in fashion magazines. No pictures of the stench, since it’s impossible to photograph a smell.

Yet in federal court this week, plaintiffs’ attorneys began their task of convincing a jury that the rancid odor of feces and urine emanating from an industrialized swine farm is not merely annoying. Rather, for the 10 plaintiffs who live within a mile of the farm in Bladen County, these intrusions meet the legal definition of a nuisance: an “excessive or unreasonable” impediment to the enjoyment of their private property.

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Environment Top Story

Carcinogens, other contaminants found near Roxboro and Sutton coal ash sites as EPA looks to weaken rules

Policy Watch recently reviewed more than 20,000 pages of data for a series of stories about groundwater contamination in wells around Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds: Marshall, Cliffside, Allen, Buck and Dan River. This is the final installment in the series, which covers Sutton and Roxboro in context of the recent announcement of proposed changes to coal ash rules by the EPA.

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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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Environment Top Story

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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Environment Top Story

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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Environment Top Story

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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Environment Top Story

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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