Environment

Environment

Environment News Top Story

Amid a massive American clean energy shift, grid operators play catch-up 

For the better part of the past century, the American electric power system evolved around large, mostly fossil fuel power plants delivering electricity to residences, businesses and industry through a network of transmission and distribution wires that collectively came to be called the electric grid. But as the threat of climate change driven by carbon pollution becomes more dire and as technological advances make wind, solar and battery storage ever cheaper options for powering homes and business, states, corporations and voters are increasingly pushing to aggressively decarbonize the grid.

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Environment

NC Attorney General’s Office argues that DuPont’s holding companies should also be on the hook for PFAS liabilities in NC

The historical DuPont corporation -- known in court records as "Old DuPont" -- has parked roughly $20 billion in two “paper companies” (which have no employees, offices or equipment) to shield those assets from legal liability, a lawyer for the North Carolina Attorney General argued before the state Supreme Court today.

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Environment News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Hurricane survivors testify before legislative oversight committee, unveiling the truth about ReBuild NC’s bungled disaster relief program

They arrived with folded papers pulled from their pockets. Some came carrying folders that brimmed with documents neatly arranged in binder clips. Others arrived empty-handed, but hoped to leave with answers. With scores more watching in person and online, survivors of hurricanes Matthew and Florence spoke before a state government oversight committee Wednesday about the injustices they have endured – a direct result of the bungled disaster relief program run by the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, also known as ReBuild NC. 

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Environment News Top Story

Monday numbers: Chapel Hill’s – and the planet’s – coal ash problem

In the mid-20th century, Chapel Hill residents unknowingly strolled the streets in a miasma of coal ash. Until federal regulations required the UNC coal-fired power plant to install pollution controls, the ash carpeted the town, its residents -- and its residents' lungs -- in invisible particles. In addition, hundreds of thousands of tons of leftover fly ash was dumped, along with other trash, at what is now 828 Martin Luther King Blvd., the home of the Chapel Hill Police Department.

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Environment Top Story

Lincoln County slow to respond to extremely high levels of cancer-causing arsenic in residents’ drinking water

It's still unclear if the source of the arsenic is naturally occurring or a former lithium mine Before Abby and Jason Hollis bought their 1,200-square-foot house on Laboratory Road in rural Lincolnton, the inspector required them to test their drinking water well, a routine step when purchasing a home.

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Environment News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

508 years: The cumulative amount of time hurricane survivors have been displaced from their homes

ReBuild NC also revises -- upward -- expenditures on motels, other temporary housing for hurricane survivors 508 years or 185,522 days: That’s the total amount of time spent displaced for the 1,774 households receiving temporary relocation assistance from ReBuild NC’s homeowner disaster relief program ReBuild NC, whose formal name is the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, sent the information to Policy Watch, which requested the figures under public records law. 

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Environment News Top Story

Community members turn out in force to oppose proposed Yadkin granite mine

Board of Commissioners issues final ruling on controversial proposal to rezone 495 acres Craig Justus stood before the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners with the full force of a community behind him. “Tonight is a very important decision. I would consider this as a legacy vote,” Justus, an attorney representing opponents of a proposed granite mine, said.

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Environment Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Mountaire chicken slaughter plant overwhelming Siler City wastewater treatment facility, which has incurred 80 violations, $110K in fines

State has imposed a moratorium on the Siler City facility for chronic noncompliance, preventing new sewer connections for new industry, housing Downstream from the Siler City wastewater treatment plant, sickness had beset the Rocky River. At least 30 fish, including the Eastern shiner and some species of chub, "were observed with lesions and appeared stressed," Tim Savidge, an aquatic biologist wrote in his field notes to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. "Gasping, irregular swimming, etc."

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Congress Environment News Top Story

Biden signs into law Democrats’ wide-ranging climate change, health care and tax bill

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed his party’s signature climate, health care and tax package into law Tuesday, capping off more than a year of tumultuous negotiations that saw his original proposal to Congress slimmed down considerably. Flanked by a handful of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III, Biden sharply contrasted his outlook for the country with that of Republicans, who unanimously voted against the package. 

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Environment Top Story

Moving the misery around: EPA approves plan to truck contaminated soil from one Black community to another

Contaminated soil from a Superfund site in Navassa will be shipped to one of three landfills outside Brunswick County, likely moving toxic pollution from one non-white or low-income community to another.  The proposed cleanup plan, approved by the EPA in late May, highlights the environmental injustices that occur when counties, regulators and polluters offload their problems to communities of color.

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Environment News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

ReBuild NC spent $10.6 million to house Hurricane Matthew survivors who have languished in motels — some for years

ReBuild NC has spent $10.64 million on motels, moving and storage unit expenses in three years for displaced Hurricane Matthew survivors, as construction and administrative delays have kept people from returning to their homes. The figures were included in Temporary Relocation Assistance (TRA) data provided by ReBuild NC, also known as the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency.

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Environment News Top Story

Increased algal blooms in June lead the state to investigate two important NC lakes

Hotter summers spurred by climate change are likely making more and more bodies of water in NC unsafe There have been more than 300 public reports of algal blooms in North Carolina this year, 100 in June alone, according to the NC Department of Environmental Quality. And climate change could be at least partly responsible.

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Environment News Top Story

Old-growth trees on federal lands at risk despite Biden order, environmentalists say

Century-old trees in NC are on the hit list; could be clear-cut before protections take effect Plans for commercial logging of old-growth forests on federal lands have moved forward this year, despite an executive order signed on Earth Day by President Joe Biden, according to a report from environmental groups published Tuesday.

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Environment News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As construction delays continue, ReBuild NC is incurring enormous costs to house displaced Hurricane Matthew survivors in motels

Displaced homeowners also finding their belongings damaged in mobile storage units; state paid for them but says it's not responsible The NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency could not produce records to Policy Watch of how much money it has spent in the last five years on motels and storage units for people displaced by Hurricane Matthew, according to a spokesperson’s email. However, based on figures for just six families, the amount likely runs into the millions of dollars.

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Environment Top Story

“Intoxicated on its own power”: What the Supreme Court’s decision on the EPA portends for the planet

Relentless heat -- Raleigh is running well ahead of the 30-year average in the number of 90-degree days. The city has already recorded 24 days that hit 90 or above, on pace to blow past the average of 43 days -- and there are still two months until meteorological fall. Persistent drought — 99 of North Carolina's 100 counties are classified as experiencing some level of drought, as of June 28.

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Congress Environment Law and the Courts News Top Story

U.S. Supreme Court curbs federal power to regulate greenhouse gases, in blow to Biden

 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the authority to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants, siding with a group of Republican attorneys general and coal companies in a major blow to the executive branch’s power to curb climate change.

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