• U.S. Disaster Costs Doubled in 2020, Reflecting Costs of Climate Change

    By: Christopher Flavelle, The New York Times January 7, 2021 WASHINGTON — Hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters across the United States caused $95 billion in damage last year, according to new data, almost double the amount in 2019 and the third-highest losses since 2010. The new figures, reported Thursday morning by Munich Re, a company that provides insurance to other insurance companies, are the latest signal of the growing cost of climate change. They reflect a year marked by a record number of named Atlantic storms, as well as the largest wildfires ever…


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  • How the Department of Defense could help win the war on climate change

    By: Eric Wolff, Politico January 4, 2020 President-elect Joe Biden has warned that climate change will pose future threats for the U.S. military as it worsens unrest in volatile regions and creates new dangers to its facilities from rising seas, powerful storms and harsh droughts. But the Defense Department also offers a silver lining on climate change for the new president: a huge appetite for clean energy sources and a massive budget to help accelerate the development of new technologies needed to curb…


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  • Biden Interior nominee discusses environmental injustice with tribal leaders

    By: Justin Coleman, The Hill December 28, 2020 Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) discussed environmental injustice with tribal leaders on Monday in her first meeting after being named President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of the Interior. In the meeting, Haaland committed to “fully” honoring the U.S.’s treaty obligations to tribal nations and working with leaders to address the “disproportionate harm” Native Americans face “from long-running environmental injustices” and climate change. Haaland, if confirmed, would become the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. The New Mexico lawmaker told leaders at the meeting that she plans…


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  • The North Carolina hog industry’s answer to pollution: a $500m pipeline project

    By: Michael Sainato, The Guardian December 11, 2020 Elsie Herring of Duplin county, North Carolina, lives in the house her late mother grew up in, but for the past several decades her home has been subjected to pollution from nearby industrial hog farms. “We have to deal with whether it’s safe to go outside. It’s a terrible thing to open the door and face that waste. It makes you want to throw up. It takes your breath away, it makes your eyes…


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  • EPA sued over rule extending life of toxic coal ash ponds

    By: Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill November 24, 2020 A coalition of nine environmental groups is suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a rule that extends the life of giant pits of toxic coal sludge, risking contamination of nearby water sources. The July rule allows for the more than 400 coal ash pits across the nation, where coal residue is mixed with liquid and stored in open-air, often unlined ponds, to stay open as late as 2038. “Right now toxic chemicals are poisoning water across the country because of dirty coal plants. The Trump administration acted illegally when it gave coal plants many…


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  • Could defeat in nuisance lawsuits herald a reckoning for the NC hog industry?

    By: Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch November 24, 2020 In an extraordinary concurring opinion, a Reagan-appointed judge offers searing indictment of industrialized hog farming  Shortly after Smithfield Foods lost its third consecutive hog nuisance case in federal court, company CEO Ken Sullivan wrote a letter. In it, Sullivan reassured the company’s employees and contract growers that while Smithfield faced tens of millions of dollars in damages to neighbors of the offending farms, as well as untold legal fees, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals would bend the arc of justice back their way. “Since the early stages of these cases, we’ve believed North…


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  • Equitrans reports increased cost estimate, delayed in-service date for Mountain Valley Pipeline

    By Debra Flax, Pennsylvania Business Report November 5, 2020 Equitrans Midstream Corporation (ETRN) said this week that the cost estimate of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is now between $5.8 billion and $6 billion and the project’s full in-service date is anticipated during the second half of 2021. MVP is a proposed underground, interstate natural gas pipeline system, expected to span roughly 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to Southern Virginia and designed to transport clean-burning natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions. MVP is a joint venture of ETRN, NextEra Capital Holdings, Inc., ConEdison Transmission, Inc., WGL Midstream, Inc., and…


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  • Controversial plan would bring waste processing facilities to struggling southern NC community

    By Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch October 22, 2020 Company proposes to process old railroad ties in low-income Richmond County locale already burdened by pollution This story has been corrected to show that only one plant will be built. The second application has been withdrawn. An industrial plant that would “cook” creosote-treated railroad ties and release tons of harmful air emissions are proposed for a predominantly low-income neighborhood near Hamlet, an area already burdened by pollution. The facility International Tie Disposal, is owned by a railroad infrastructure company, Polivka International, based near Charlotte. The plants would produce biochar, a shredded material…


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  • Fracking Fiasco: The Banks That Fueled the U.S. Shale Bust

    Published by Oil Change International and Rainforest Action Network. September 2020 DOWNLOAD THE REPORT A new report by Oil Change International and Rainforest Action Network (RAN) shows how major banks have continued pouring money into fracking companies in recent years, despite numerous warnings that the sector has been financially unsustainable, in addition to the well-documented environmental, health, and climate impacts of the shale industry. This analysis compiles data from 51 U.S. fracking-focused companies, receiving USD 224 billion in financing since the adoption of the Paris Agreement. (January 2016 — August 2020). Nearly 40% of that financing came from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo alone,…


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  • Proposed new poultry farm in Chatham County: 750,000 birds, taxpayer-funded — and lots of secrets

    By: Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch September 28, 2020 Although not the farmer, Sen. Tom McInnis of Richmond County owns the land A proposed poultry farm near Goldston in Chatham County could raise nearly 750,000 birds each year near an important waterway, yet many of the details are secret even though taxpayer funds are bankrolling much of the construction and it’s being built on a state senator’s property, a Policy Watch investigation has found. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency is in charge of the loan. The amount is not specified in public documents, but federal policy caps guaranteed operating loans at…


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