Environment

Environment

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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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Environment Top Story

House passes Farm Act, which will fast-track controversial biogas projects

Rep. Jimmy Dixon calls agriculture "a whipping boy," says opposition is unfair Mt. Zion AME Church sits a ways off the road, flanked by farm fields near the Sampson County town of Magnolia. The small brick church, whose congregation is predominantly Black, is 100 years old. But its drinking water well is new.

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Environment News Top Story

U.S. House panel approves legislation to clean up toxic ‘forever chemicals’

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee has approved major bipartisan legislation that aims to reduce Americans’ exposure to toxic chemicals in air, water and consumer products. The bill, the PFAS Action Act of 2021, led by Michigan Reps. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat and Fred Upton, a Republican, was approved 33-20 late Wednesday.

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Environment News Top Story

Once on the fast track, super-secret energy bill derailed over costs, nukes, and unproven claims

Rep. John Szoka says House Bill 951 "is not perfect." That, opponents say, is an understatement. For the past five months, the workings of a top secret energy group was so hush-hush that if someone was caught leaking information they would be expelled as an outcast and a pariah.

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Environment Top Story

‘Sooner’ or ‘later’? Fate of Wake Stone quarry near Umstead State Park hinges on one word

Former N.C. Attorney General says there was no typo, but the state intended for mining to wind down in 2032, not the 22nd century One word — “sooner” — in a 40-year-old mining permit could alter the future of a quarry and its proposed expansion adjacent to Umstead State Park in Raleigh.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: Mapping urban heat islands to blunt the health risks of climate change

How hot is it on your block? If you live in am historically Black neighborhood, it's probably hotter than in whiter, more affluent areas. As climate change leads to more extreme temperatures, communities of color are more vulnerable to the health risks of the heat.

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Environment News Top Story

Uncharted territory: Senate committee rejects nomination of NC DEQ Secretary Delli-Gatti

In a snub to Gov. Roy Cooper and an apparent affirmation of the political power of energy utilities, the Senate Agriculture, Energy and Environment Committee rejected the confirmation of Secretary of the Environment Dionne Delli-Gatti today during a tumultuous and heated hearing.

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PW exclusive: PFAS levels spiking in monitoring wells in New Hanover County

Concentration of toxic compounds up 260% in one well, compared with last year Levels of perfluorinated compounds, also known as PFAS, have surged in several monitoring wells in New Hanover County recent data show, prompting state regulators to investigate potential sources.

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Environment Top Story

Active Energy’s controversial wood pellet plant in Lumberton on hold — indefinitely

Maine regulators also have questions, are scrutinizing company’s trial wood pellet project in that state Active Energy Renewable Power’s plans to manufacture wood pellets at its plant in Lumberton have been delayed indefinitely, prompting the company to launch a trial project in Maine.

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Environment Top Story

Senator Brent Jackson walks back part of controversial Farm Act that would have shielded employers from retaliation claims

An overlooked section of the 2021 Farm Act, which is currently under consideration at the General Assembly, would have undercut North Carolina workers’ ability to sue their employers for retaliation, a potential benefit for Sen. Brent Jackson, a primary bill sponsor and previous subject of these complaints.

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Environment Top Story

Hear no evil, see no evil? Senate committee limits public comments on controversial farm bill that would limit public comments

A Senate committee on Wednesday shut down public discussion of a contentious portion of the Farm Act, which coincidentally, sharply curbs public input on swine farms that install biogas systems and anaerobic digesters. The hog and energy industries support biogas, arguing the systems help alleviate climate change by capturing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, that would otherwise be released into the air.

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Environment Top Story

Senate committee holds hostile confirmation hearing for Cooper DEQ nominee

And it's not over; hearing to be continued. Not until Minute 100 of a 120-minute confirmation hearing for Secretary of the Environment nominee Dionne Delli-Gatti did any lawmaker speak the words “environmental justice.” Even then, the context for the comment was not one of concern for communities of color and low-income neighborhoods who are disproportionately burdened by polluting industries.

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Environment News Top Story

PW special report: The great methane debate and what it could mean for North Carolina

Environmental advocates want stronger regulation of the potent greenhouse gas, but Ag and energy interests are touting biogas

More than 2,200 industrialized hog farms and another 200-plus dairy operations in North Carolina are constantly belching untold amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas and driver of climate change, into the air.

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Tired of fighting opponents of a proposed mine and asphalt plants, Carolina Sunrock decides to sue

Fifty-eight defendants named in legal complaint filed in Caswell County Opponents of two asphalt plants and a 426-acre mine proposed for Caswell County have been so successful in stymieing the projects that the company behind the proposals is now taking the residents to court.

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Environment News Top Story

NC figures to play a major role as Biden banks on offshore wind to help curb climate change

WASHINGTON — Two wind turbines, each as tall as the Washington Monument, stand sentinel 27 miles off the coast of Virginia, the nation’s first offshore wind installation in federal waters. The pilot project began producing power last October but is just the beginning for an industry poised for massive growth over the next decade.

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