• EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws amid coronavirus

    By: Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill March 26, 2020 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a sweeping suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws Thursday, telling companies they would not need to meet environmental standards during the coronavirus outbreak. The temporary policy, for which the EPA has set no end date, would allow any number of industries to skirt environmental laws, with the agency saying it will not “seek penalties for noncompliance with routine monitoring and reporting obligations.” Cynthia Giles, who headed the EPA’s Office of Enforcement during the Obama administration, called it a moratorium on enforcing the nation’s environmental laws…


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  • Utilities Face Pressure To Stop Shutting Off Services Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

    By: Alexander C. Kaufman, The Huffington Post March 13, 2020 A breakup doubled Andrea Guinn’s living expenses overnight. Saddled with the bills and rent for the apartment she once shared with her ex in Queens, she fell behind on payments to Consolidated Edison, the $29 billion investor-owned utility that enjoys a monopoly on electricity in New York City. By February, the 33-year-old said, she paid off all but $74 of the nearly $600 she owed the utility and stayed current on her monthly bills. But one night last month, she…


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  • ACP Case Could Gut 100 Years of Safeguards for Federal Parks

    By: Kathryn Miles, Politico March 3, 2020 When is a hiking trail not the same as the land it sits on? That’s a question before the Supreme Court, which last week heard oral arguments concerning the siting of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $5.1 billion project that, if completed, would transport over a billion cubic feet of gas each day from West Virginia to North Carolina. The arguments were the latest in five years of legal snags for the project that has…


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  • Environmental advocates, fossil fuel industry debate Atlantic Coast Pipeline at the U.S. Supreme Court

    By: Sarah Vogelsong, NC Policy Watch February 24, 2020 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Where does a trail end and the land beneath it begin? That’s just one of the thorny questions the Supreme Court grappled with Monday morning during a one-hour hearing on a U.S. Forest Service permit for the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The hearing has been hotly anticipated by both the gas and oil industry, which supports the pipeline, and the environmental advocacy community, which opposes the project. Since its inception, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile conduit that would bring natural gas from West Virginia, through Virginia and…


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  • MVP Southgate clears environmental review by FERC

    By: Laurence Hammack, The Roanoke Times February 14, 2020 Plans to extend the Mountain Valley Pipeline 75 miles into North Carolina moved forward Friday, even as the initial project remains mired in legal and regulatory challenges. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded that while there would be some environmental damage caused by building the so-called MVP Southgate, it could be minimized to “less than significant levels.” An environmental impact statement released by FERC is a major step forward for the pipeline, which would originate at Mountain Valley’s terminus in Chatham, head southwest through Pittsylvania County and cross into North Carolina,…


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  • Judge’s ruling revokes coal ash landfill permits in Chatham, Lee counties

    By: Jessica Patrick, WRAL December 16, 2019 CHATHAM COUNTY, N.C. — Environmental groups are praising a decision revoking permits for coal ash landfills in Chatham and Lee counties. On Friday, a judge ruled the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) exceeded its authority and failed to use proper procedure by issuing permits for the Brickhaven and Colon mine sites, according to the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL). The ruling comes after environmentalists voiced concerns over groundwater contamination from coal ash, the powdery substance that remains after burning coal. Coal ash ponds located…


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  • New Data Show Severity of Water Contamination in Poor Neighborhoods

    By: Daniel Ross, Truthout October 23, 2019 Curious to know exactly what’s in the water that flows from your taps? Then simply plug your zip code into the latest iteration of the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Tap Water Database. The database provides an analysis of the water…


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  • Why Are Democratic Governors Still Doing Favors for the Oil Industry?

    By: Nick Martin, The New Republic November 22, 2019 As the world warms and weather grows more extreme, it’s hard to find anyone in American politics—Democrat or Republican—taking the crisis as seriously as scientists suggest they should. A report released this week by the United Nations Environment Programme found that by 2030, the world’s states will have produced twice the amount of fossil fuels allowable if limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit); the current rate of production is 120 percent over what would be necessary to limit warming to 1.5 degrees…


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  • Coal ash case: DEQ 2, Duke Energy 0

    By: Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch Oct. 29, 2019 An administrative law judge has again ruled against Duke Energy, determining that state environmental regulators acted appropriately in several aspects of requiring the utility to fully excavate its unlined coal ash basins. Judge Selina Malherbe ruled on two motions yesterday: DEQ provided adequate notice to Duke Energy prior to issuing the April 1, 2019 closure election decision; DEQ properly limited Duke Energy to filing a single closure plan for each coal ash impoundment. “The judge’s ruling confirms that DEQ acted openly and transparently as we made an informed decision on the closure of the coal…


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  • Lead Isotopes Provide New Tool for Tracking Coal Ash in Dust, Soil and Sediments

    Featuring: Avner Vengosh, Gary Dwyer, Zhen Wang Oct. 22, 2019 DURHAM, N.C. – Inhaling dust that contains fly ash particles from coal combustion has been linked to lung and heart disease, cancer, nervous system disorders and other ill effects. But tracking the presence of coal ash in dust has been a challenge for scientists. Until now. Researchers at Duke University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill have developed a new forensic tracer that uses lead isotopes to detect coal fly ash in dust and other solids, including soil and sediments. Fly ash is a fine particulate produced by burning pulverized coal. Tests…


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