Environment

Environment

Environment Top Story

After years of delay EPA to commence clean-up of Superfund sites in Gastonia, Yadkinville, Charlotte and Jacksonville

The forest lay still, save for the rustling of leaves of bamboo. It was in a clearing on this 15 acres in rural Gastonia that Carl Hendrix, now deceased, scratched out a living. He took in old chemical drums from nearby industry, rinsed them, poured the toxic dregs on the ground, then flattened the metal for sale as scrap. Over the past 60 years the chemical TCE, found in solvents, has soaked through the earth, meandered through the subsurface rock, inched its way below Hemphill Road and contaminated at least eight private drinking water wells, plus another community well that served an entire neighborhood. TCE entered seeps that fed an unnamed creek where children used to play.,/p> ...

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Congress Environment News Top Story

GOP U.S. House passes bill opening more public land to development if reserve oil is tapped

U.S. House Republicans passed a bill Friday to force the White House to make more federal land and waters available for oil and gas development if the president orders the withdrawal of more oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The bill, passed 221-205, mostly along party lines, would strip the president’s power to remove oil from the reserve unless the U.S. Energy Department has a plan to allow new leasing on federal lands and waters for oil exploration.

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Environment News Top Story

Offshore wind will need major investments in transmission, supply chain, reports say

Achieving the aggressive offshore wind power goals of the federal government and individual states will require billions of dollars in spending on transmission infrastructure, “unprecedented” cooperation between grid operators and federal and state agencies, and would be aided by major buildout of a domestic supply chain, per a pair of reports released this week. Coastal states across the country, from North Carolina to California to Louisiana to Maine, are pushing for offshore wind projects. But authors of the reports see potential bottlenecks looming, both in the supply chain to build and install turbines as well as in the ability to bring the electricity ashore.

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Environment News Top Story

Sampson County site ranks No. 2 among U.S landfills for methane emissions. Rotting food is part of the problem.

Twenty-five million tons of garbage is rotting in the Sampson County landfill: disposable diapers from Durham, moldy leftovers from refrigerators in Wake, face masks and old toothbrushes from Brunswick.   Over time the detritus of our lives, particularly food waste, breaks down in the landfill and emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that ranks only second to carbon dioxide in driving human-caused climate change.

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Environment News Top Story

Durham City Council rejects huge housing development proposal in Falls Lake watershed

Competing concerns over Triangle's housing shortage and fragile environment fuel 4-2 vote. The contentious Kemp Road project – 655 single-family houses and townhomes on 280 acres in the environmentally fragile Falls Lake watershed – is dead, at least temporarily. But before sticking a fork in the proposal, Durham City Council members dug into several underlying issues vexing residents of one of the fastest-growing areas in the country: housing, gentrification and race.

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Environment News Top Story

States that limit business with banks that ‘boycott’ fossil fuels could pay high cost, study says

Republican state policymakers’ efforts to boost fossil fuels by prohibiting their governments from doing business with companies that take sustainability into consideration has the potential to cost states millions, according to a study released Thursday. Researchers looked specifically at the possible effects on Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and West Virginia if they passed Texas-like legislation limiting investment options on municipal bonds and found it could cost them between $264 and $708 million...

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Environment Top Story

Utilities Commission approves new plan to reduce carbon emissions, but advocates are underwhelmed

Around 6 o’clock on the evening of Friday, Dec. 30, when anyone who could be was mentally checked out for the holidays, the North Carolina Utilities Commission dropped one of its most important rulings of the last decade: The 137-page Carbon Plan, the commission's directive to Duke Energy to drastically reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and to do its part in thwarting a planetary crisis.

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Environment News Top Story

Several crises, malfunctions at Duke Energy led to rolling blackouts on Christmas Eve, utility officials tell state regulators

Three power plants malfunctioned. Freezing temperatures hampered the output of several nuclear facilities. Energy demand forecasts failed. Nearby utilities in other states, struggling to keep their own customers warm, had no power to sell. On Christmas Eve, a multiverse of mishaps prompted Duke Energy for the first time in state history to inflict rolling blackouts on an estimated 300,000 North Carolinians.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: the environmental impacts of the VinFast electric car factory in Chatham County

With stands of loblolly pine, rivers, creeks and expanses of farm fields, southeastern Chatham County feels like the country. But this neck of the woods is home to many polluting industries: Arauco, a wood products company with a history of air quality violations; the Shearon Harris nuclear plant...

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Environment News Top Story

Climate change is forcing cities to rethink their tree mix

NC State researcher, other experts say a commitment to planning and species diversity have become essential Cities need to plant more trees. But not just any trees. As communities prepare for a massive influx of federal funding to support urban forestry, their leaders say the tree canopy that grows to maturity 50 years from now will need to be painted with a different palette than the one that exists today.

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Environment News Top Story

Frustration, disbelief and a call for resignation: Lawmakers grill hurricane recovery official at oversight hearing

Laura Hogshead did not lose her job as the head of ReBuild NC on Wednesday, as many hurricane survivors had hoped. Instead, several state lawmakers on a government oversight committee used the hearing as another opportunity to publicly berate Hogshead for the many deficiencies of the hurricane recovery program.  An abysmal number of home completions and a lack of accountability. A pattern of deception and a culture of secrecy.

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Environment News Top Story

Scientists announce a fusion breakthrough with big implications for clean energy

Scientists at a U.S. national laboratory announced Tuesday that they achieved fusion ignition, a breakthrough decades in the making that could have major implications for clean energy.  Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory near San Francisco said that on Dec. 5, for the first time anywhere in the world, they managed to produce more energy from a nuclear fusion reaction than was needed to produce it.

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Environment Higher Ed News Top Story

Supreme Court admissions case from NC could help upend nation’s environmental justice laws

In recent years, more states have crafted environmental justice policies to help communities of color plagued by polluted air and water, poor health outcomes and limited access to green space. But now they fear that work could be upended by a pair of pending U.S. Supreme Court cases examining affirmative action admissions policies at universities. If the court strikes down affirmative action, many state lawmakers believe, the ruling could open legal challenges to “race-conscious” laws that seek to help marginalized communities.

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Environment Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Leaks, mold, electrical problems, tilting floors: Some hurricane survivors discover their new homes are falling apart

Ms. Johnson’s toilet has sat, unconnected to any plumbing, in the middle of her master bathroom for more than a year. Mold is blooming in her master bedroom closet, caused by a leaking shower. The water pressure is low, and her floors are uneven. Her contractor, Persons Services has not fixed the issues since 2021, Johnson said. And the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, also known as ReBuild NC,  has failed to hold Persons accountable.

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Environment News Top Story

Dishonorable discharge: Runoff from a former industrial site is contaminating an important NC lake

Alcoa's continued discharge of toxics into Badin Lake, a popular fishing and swimming destination, linked to paltry fines, lax state oversight  Alcoa, the eighth-largest aluminum company in the world, whose global reach spans 11 countries, claims on its website that it "operates with excellence" and "cares about people around the globe." The residents of West Badin, in Stanly County, and many of their neighbors across Badin Lake disagree.

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Environment News Top Story

As utilities spend billions on transmission, support builds for independent monitoring

Advocates say the nation needs a coherent, cohesive and transparent electric system, but utility companies resist added oversight An aging electric grid, fossil fuel power plant retirements and a massive renewable electricity buildout are all contributing to a boom in transmission and distribution wire projects by electric utilities across the country.

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