• With town of Eureka drowning in sewage bills, state takes control

    By: Kirk Ross, Carolina Public Press August 7, 2019 In early June, the small northern Wayne County town of Eureka, got its official warning letter from the N.C. Department of State Treasurer that, due to concern about how the town was handling its sewer system funds, the state intended to take over its finances and assume direct control of the town. A month later, the department has made good on its promise, taking over the town’s accounts, impounding its books and financial records, and setting a new temporary budget for operations. It’s not the first time the state has taken over a town…


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  • BREAKING: Judge rules for DEQ in Round 1 of coal ash cleanup appeal

    By: Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch August 2, 2019 State environmental regulators were not wrong in choosing the method of closure — excavation and removal of millions of tons of coal ash — at Duke Energy impoundments, Administrative Law Judge Selina Malherbe has ruled. Duke Energy had contested DEQ’s April 1 decision to require it to excavate all of the coal ash from nine unlined impoundments at its remaining six plants. The ash would then be placed in lined landfills onsite or offsite. Private lawsuits already have compelled Duke Energy to excavate ash from impoundments at eight of its 14 North Carolina plants. Duke…


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  • Federal Court Tosses Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s Key Endangered Species Permits

    By: Brittany Patterson, WV Public Broadcasting July 26, 2019 A federal court has thrown out two key permits for the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline. U.S. 4th Circuit Court Chief Judge Robert Gregory said in an opinion issued Friday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service didn’t adhere to its mandate to protect endangered species when it fast-tracked re-issuing two permits to the natural gas project proposed to go through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. “In fast-tracking its decisions, the agency appears to have lost sight of its mandate under the ESA: ‘to protect and conserve endangered and threatened…


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  • Controversial Duke Energy ratemaking bill stalls in North Carolina

    By: Elizabeth Ouzts, Energy News Network July 24, 2019 The proposal would allow state regulators to approve multiyear rate increases based on projected spending. A controversial North Carolina bill to allow regulators to approve multiyear rate increases for Duke Energy is stalled in the Republican-controlled General Assembly. Authored by leaders of both parties, Senate Bill 559 cleared the Senate in May and looked poised for passage by the House of Representatives earlier this month.  But it was pulled from the full House calendar July 10, reassigned to committee the following week, and hasn’t been debated or discussed since. The maneuvers are a strong sign…


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  • Five years after Dan River coal ash spill, Duke Energy settlement would add land to Mayo State Park

    By: Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch July 22, 2019 The Mayo River in Mayo State Park, Rockingham County (Photo: NC State Parks) This story has been updated with news regarding the purchase and transferal of the 64 acres by Duke Energy. A settlement between Duke Energy and state and federal officials over the 2014 Dan River spill would impose no significant financial penalties, but it would preserve key tracts of land along the Mayo River, according to court documents. Announced Friday, the…


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  • Wake County notifying thousands about possibly unsafe drinking water in private wells

    By: Anna Johnson, Raleigh News & Observer June 24, 2019 Wake County is notifying thousands of households on private wells that their drinking water may have unhealthy levels of radiological chemicals like uranium and radon. An estimated one in five private wells in eastern Wake County may exceed safe drinking-water standards for some chemicals, officials said at a Monday news conference. They plan to notify 19,000 property owners by mail starting this week. People don’t need to panic, said Evan Kane, the county’s groundwater protection…


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  • DEQ denies water quality permit for MVP Southgate natural gas pipeline

    By: Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch June 13, 2019 The Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgateproject encountered another setback this week, when the NC Department of Environmental Quality rejected a key water quality permit, a federal requirement for the plan to continue. Although DEQ had repeatedly asked for information for more than six months, MVP Southgate hadn’t provided a full accounting of stream crossings and other impacts on waterways to the department. Without the additional information, DEQ couldn’t evaluate the application before a federal deadline, according to a letter from Linda Culpepper, director of the Division of Water Resources. MVP Southgate has known of the federal timetable since…


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  • Pipeline Protest Laws Spark First Amendment Concerns

    By: Alan Neuhauser, US News June 6, 2019 LAWMAKERS IN TEXAS passed a bill last month that they say will speed the construction of some 11,000 miles of pipeline by 2050 that is needed to keep the state’s oil boom going: Any protester who blocks or otherwise “interferes” with the construction of an oil and gas pipeline, transmission line or other “critical infrastructure” project will face up to 10 years in prison – the same sentence given to some sex offenders, triggermen in driveby shootings and other felonies. The bill is expected to be signed by Republican Gov. Greg…


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  • NC utility rate bill ignites a fight over who pays

    By: Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer May 25, 2019 About 40 environmental advocates visited the Legislative Building last Tuesday with a mission to stop what they see as a potential massive cost shift from Duke Energy to its customers. Their target is Senate Bill 559, legislation that they say could make it easier for Duke Energy to pass on costs that should be paid by the utility and its shareholders. Customer advocates say passing on “grid modernization” costs alone could raise the average residential customer bill by $400 a year over a 10-year period and large industrial customers could see their…


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  • Standing Together Against Coal Ash Injustice

    The news was announced on April Fools Day, but it was no joke! DEQ (TheNC Dept. of Environmental Quality), backed by strong science, stood with coal ash communities in their decision to order Duke Energy to excavate coal ash from every remaining site in the state and move it into lined landfills. Duke Energy wasted no time in rebuking DEQ, speaking scathingly about the ordered clean-up, and leveraging its power to safeguard its own interests, but NC residents, businesses, and organizations, will not be standing down. On April 2, Senate…


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