Environment

Environment

Environment News Top Story

Industry released 39 million pounds of pollution into the environment last year, most of it into the air

North Carolina industry released the least amount of air pollution last year — 21.5 million pounds — since 2003, according to federal data released last week. Releases to land were also at 16-year lows, but discharges to waterways — 8.1 million pounds — were the highest since 2015. Releases for air, land and water totaled 39 million pounds.

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Environment News Top Story

Hog farm that spilled 1 million gallons of feces, urine into waterways had been warned of lagoon problems

DC Mills Farm has familial ties to another operation that incurred a record fine A Jones County farm that spilled an estimated 1 million gallons of hog feces and urine into a tributary of the Trent River shortly before Christmas had been cited twice in the past year by state regulators because its lagoon was too full.

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Environment Top Story

Environment 2020: A year of major wins, but also major losses

If it didn't create air pollution, I'd burn my 2020 calendar. A terrible, awful year, despite a few, albeit significant environmental wins. Climate change, of course, continued unabated. Otherwise, without a massive coal ash spill or major hurricane to capture the public's attention, the environmental losses were quieter, more piecemeal, albeit also significant...

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Environment News Top Story

DEQ Secretary Michael Regan is leading contender for top EPA job under Biden administration

Supporters, detractors grade Regan's performance as NC DEQ secretary A few days before state lawmakers confirmed Michael Regan as Secretary of the Environment in 2017, he appeared in Mebane, where he spoke to the West End Revitalization Association and other environmental justice advocates.

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Environment Top Story

Contamination prompts Colonial Pipeline to buy three homes near Huntersville gasoline spill

Company still hasn't revealed total volume of gasoline released in August; DEQ wants answers by Dec. 23. The garage is empty and spotless. A man lugs garbage bags stuffed with soft goods and crams them into his car, filling the back seat and passenger side.

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Environment News Top Story

What happens when there’s no clean water left to drink?

Pittsboro, Fuquay-Varina want to buy drinking water from Sanford. But that town's water is contaminated with PFAS. At least 1 million people living from Pittsboro to Wilmington in the Cape Fear River Basin could be exposed to high levels of toxic perfluorinated compounds.

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Environment Top Story

Could defeat in nuisance lawsuits herald a reckoning for the NC hog industry?

In an extraordinary concurring opinion, a Reagan-appointed judge offers searing indictment of industrialized hog farming Shortly after Smithfield Foods lost its third consecutive hog nuisance case in federal court, company CEO Ken Sullivan wrote a letter.

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Environment News Top Story

Big Ag considers how a Biden administration could reverse four years of Trump’s damaging trade wars

Exports of dairy, pork, soybeans, even blueberries declined. What's in store for farmers under Biden? WASHINGTON — American farmers who have endured the drama and turbulence of trade and agriculture policy in the Trump administration can expect a far more sedate and multinational experience when President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.

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COVID-19 Environment Top Story

COVID-19 quarantine creates record amounts of trash

Dan Parker wants to talk trash.  Actually, he’s been talking trash for more than six years. Parker’s job at Durham’s Solid Waste Management Department brings him up close to the discards and undesirables of the city’s residents. But the last seven months of the pandemic brought a load unlike any other for Parker and his team. 

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Environment News Top Story

Smithfield, Dominion propose major swine gas project, but details are secret, troubling residents

Public hearing on Align RNG air permit set for this afternoon

Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy plan to deploy 30 miles of underground pipeline in Sampson and Duplin counties, part of a controversial project to buy methane from area hog farms, then transport and sell the energy to major utilities.

In and of itself, decreasing methane emissions in the atmosphere isn’t controversial. Such reductions are key to curbing climate change because methane is even more potent in heating the planet than carbon dioxide. And the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard requires investor-owned utilities to generate or buy a minute amount — just 0.02% — of their power from swine and poultry waste.

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Environment Top Story

Mother Nature chimes in as officials ponder controversial landfill proposal

A day of dangerous flooding underscores concerns of local residents regarding proposed Vance County facility The rain, curtains of it, had fallen in North Carolina all of Thursday. Relentless and unforgiving, floodwaters filled rivers and creeks, which broke their banks. It swept mud from hillsides, buckled roads, swallowed cars. It killed people in several counties.

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Environment Top Story

What the election results mean for environmental protection

Four experts reflect on what's likely to come next in Washington and Raleigh Not since before the Nixon administration, which created the EPA in 1970, have environmental protections been under such a sustained attack — an attack that threatens the planet's very habitability.

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Environment Top Story

Controversial plan would bring waste processing facilities to struggling southern NC community

Company proposes to process old railroad ties in low-income Richmond County locale already burdened by pollution Two industrial plants that would “cook” creosote-treated railroad ties and release tons of harmful air emissions are proposed for a predominantly low-income neighborhood near Hamlet, an area already burdened by pollution.

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Environment Top Story

Proposed new poultry farm in Chatham County: 750,000 birds, taxpayer-funded — and lots of secrets

Although not the farmer, Sen. Tom McInnis of Richmond County owns the land A proposed poultry farm near Goldston in Chatham County could raise nearly 750,000 birds each year near an important waterway, yet many of the details ...
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Environment Top Story

Vance County residents speak out in force against proposed landfill

In testimony, the facts didn't always add up to the truth

Kenneth Harrison III slouched in a hard wooden bench in a Vance County meeting room, the posture of a man who might have spent the day in the cab of a dump truck. He wore a mask bearing a print of the American flag.  His lawyer, Tom Terrell of Greensboro, well-known in North Carolina for representing mining companies, landfill operators and other industrial pariahs, looked fresh and spiffy in a dark suit and red tie, his silver hair curled over the white collar at the nape of his neck.

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Environment Top Story

How NC can tackle the climate crisis and address environmental justice

New, "must read" report details six ways to create safe, healthy communities and ensure access to clean, affordable energy A new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) outlines how North Carolina can reduce the impact of climate change in a way that addresses systemic racism and environmental justice.

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