Environment

Environment

Environment Top Story

Pipelines, roads and railways: This is why you should care about Trump’s rollback of NEPA, a key environmental law

By the time the new Interstate 885 opens in Durham later this year, some of the people who conceived of the original project will have been long dead. In the works for 60 years, the East End Connector, as Durhamites call it, funnels traffic over four miles from NC 147 to US 70 and onto I-85, to reduce congestion on surface streets.

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What to do about pollution from “forever chemicals”?

State and federal officials are starting to act, but proposed rules and standards take time and vary widely Toxic PFAS — perfluorinated compounds — are known as “forever chemicals” because they persist in the human body and the environment for decades, if not hundreds of years.    It also takes forever to pass permanent environmental standards regulating them.

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DEQ, Duke Energy, community groups strike deal on largest coal ash cleanup in US

In an historic agreement, Duke Energy will remove coal ash from unlined pits at its six plants – Allen, Belews Creek, Cliffside/Rogers, Marshall, Mayo and Roxboro – which will finally cut off this source of groundwater and surface water contamination near those communities. The NC Department of Environmental Quality, Duke Energy and the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represented community groups in litigation against the utility, all announced the details of the settlement today.

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From climate change to coal ash: Five environmental stories to follow in the New Year

Remember 350 parts per million? In 2008, author Bill McKibben christened his environmental group 350.org because 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide was thought to be the limit of the "safe" amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

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They persisted: It wasn’t easy, but in 2019 local communities scored environmental victories

2019 was the year of planetary grief: The Trump administration's drumbeat of environmental rollbacks – at last count 80-plus. Melting sea ice and the attendant rising ocean levels; the very real threat of species extinction; extreme weather, like Hurricane Dorian, which devastated the Outer Banks.

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PW special report: Residents of NC town long treated as a massive waste dump demand action

Alcoa Corporation polluted the Stanly County town of West Badin with toxic chemicals for decades. Now, the people living there want action. Macy Hinson was raised in a small house that rested at the foot of a short hill at 415 Lee Street, 100 yards from an unlined pit where aluminum titan Alcoa disgorged its hazardous waste.

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Low levels of 16 types of “forever chemicals” — PFAS — found in New Hanover County compost

Since PFAS are unregulated, no public notification is required.

Food packaging could be a source of perfluorinated compounds detected in compost produced by New Hanover County. 

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Monday numbers: Rate of complaint-driven inspections of industrialized livestock operations second-highest in 10 years

Stench and flies. Noise and traffic. Waste flowing into waterways. Manure-infused spray. Complaints about industrialized livestock farms prompted the NC Department of Environmental Quality to inspect those facilities at the second-highest rate in 10 years, according to a report recently submitted to the legislative Environment Review Commission.

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An infant’s gravesite, environmental concerns could put proposed Caswell County mining operation on the rocks

In addition to historic cemeteries and archaeological resources, state is concerned about asbestos, drinking water pollution  Rubbie Francis Wade entered this world in 1921. She left it eight months later, in the summer of 1922. A descendant of the enslaved, Rubbie was not considered by whites important enough to document.

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Investigation: Gov. Cooper didn’t benefit from pipeline fund, but “improperly used his authority” to strike a deal

A top advisor to Gov. Roy Cooper allegedly told a Duke Energy lobbyist that Cooper, not Secretary of the Environment Michael Regan, would make the final decision on a key permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, according to ...
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SELC plans to sue Burlington over PFAS, 1,4-Dioxane pollution in drinking water, sludge

DEQ cites Greensboro and Reidsville for illegal discharges of 1,4-Dioxane into Haw River and its tributaries

The Southern Environmental Law Center plans to sue the City of of Burlington for discharging perfluorinated compounds — PFAS — and 1,4-Dioxane from its two wastewater treatment plants into the drinking water supply, unless state regulators intervene first.

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State officials uphold fine for illegal dumping at Falls Lake

Property company must pay $22,000, but other actors in dumping scheme have yet to be held accountable

James Puryear stood before members of the Environmental Management Commission, hoping for a break.

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PW exclusive: Proposal for massive Caswell County granite mine fires up locals

On the morning of Halloween, Randy Hester shifted the gears of his rugged pickup truck into four-wheel drive and headed down a knobby hill toward Roxboro Lake. Hester's 200-acre farm, which abuts the shoreline, has been in his family for 10 generations, and he knows every fold and pleat in the landscape. 

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NC State scientist discusses Trump administration’s war on critical air pollution regs

For three years NC State University Distinguished Professor Chris Frey served on an EPA advisory panel that focused on air pollution, specifically minute-size particulate matter — PM 2.5 — that is no larger than a human hair. PM 2.5 is especially harmful to human health because the particles burrow deep into the lungs.

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Monday numbers: NC’s widespread drought and the anniversary of an unforgettable fire

The drought map looks ominous. In spots, western North Carolina is as dry — or drier — than the same areas during the record-breaking drought of 2016. It was that year on Nov. 6, when the Chestnut Knob fire ignited in Burke County -- then, as now, experiencing a moderate drought -- burning more than 6,400 acres over three weeks.

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“It’s a horrible story” — Officials, advocates decry the hazards of PFAS at N.C. summit

The chemicals that corporate titans Chemours, DuPont and 3M are manufacturing today will likely outlive you.  They will most certainly outlive everyone who attended this week’s summit on per-fluorinated and poly-fluorinated compounds. Collectively known as PFAS, there are thousands of these compounds...

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