• DEQ denies MVP Southgate water quality permit — again

    By: Lisa Sorg, April 29 NC Policy Watch The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has again denied a key water quality permit for the proposed MVP Southgate natural gas pipeline, dealing another setback to the controversial project that would run through Rockingham and Alamance counties. DEQ originally denied the water quality permit application last August. At the time Division of Water Resources Director Danny Smith wrote that because of “uncertainty surrounding the completion of the MVP Mainline project … work on the Southgate extension could lead to unnecessary water quality impacts and disturbance of the environment in North Carolina.” MVP appealed the DEQ’s denial…


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  • The great methane debate and what it could mean for North Carolina

    By: Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch April 21, 2021 Environmental advocates want stronger regulation of the potent greenhouse gas, but ag and energy interests are touting biogas More than 2,200 industrialized hog farms and another 200-plus dairy operations in North Carolina are constantly belching untold amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas and driver of climate change, into the air. Yet because of the EPA’s inertia and the livestock industry’s significant political power, these farms have eluded any meaningful regulations of their methane emissions and their contribution to the climate crisis. More than two dozen environmental groups recently petitioned the EPA to regulate industrialized swine…


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  • At Earth Day climate summit, Biden promises 50% reduction in US greenhouse emissions

    By: Dierdre Shesgreen, USA Today April 22, 2021 WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas pollution in half by 2030 at a virtual climate summit Thursday, outlining an aggressive target that would require sweeping changes to America’s energy and transportation sectors. “These steps will set America on a path of a net-zero emissions economy by no later than 2050,” Biden said as the White House opened the two-day summit, attended by 40 leaders from around the world. “Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade, this is the decade…


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  • 7 million Californians live near oil and gas wells. This bill could change that.

    By: Alexandria Herr, Grist April 12, 2021 Despite its green reputation, California has a big fossil fuel problem on its hands: neighborhood oil and gas drilling. In California, there’s nothing preventing frackers or drillers from setting up shop right next to your home, school, or hospital — and indeed, this is the reality for 7.4 million Californians currently living within 1 mile of oil and gas drilling operations, who are disproportionately non-white and low-income. Now, a new state bill called S.B. 467, slated for a hearing in the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on…


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  • Proposed Plastics Plant Will Test Joe Biden’s Commitment to Environmental Justice

    By: Dharna Noor, Gizmodo April 6, 2021 Myrtle Felton has lived in St. James Parish her whole life, but it looks nothing like it did when she was young. “It looks like a third world,” she said. “Sometimes I just go ride to River Road, and I try to remember what it actually looked like years ago. I try to remember, ‘Whose house was here? Whose house was there?’ But there are so many chemical plants down this road that now, even me, I forget what it looked like because it’s so different.” In the decades Felton…


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  • Converting hog waste into energy: Not as neat and simple as it might sound

    By: Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch April 2, 2021 Public comment period ends Sunday on Optima TH’s air pollution permit for facility at Smithfield slaughterhouse  Optima TH has applied for a state air quality permit to operate a major biogas facility at Smithfield Fresh Meats in the Bladen County town of Tar Heel. If approved, Optima TH could emit 24,500 to 40,800 tons of greenhouse gases each year. Biogas, in the form of methane, would be collected from Smithfield’s wastewater treatment system, upgraded onsite at the Optima TH facility to meet natural gas standards, and then injected into a Piedmont Natural…


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  • ‘The stakes are very high’: In North Carolina, more interest than ever in Duke Energy’s long-range plans

    By: Elizabeth Ouzts, Energy News Network March 22, 2021 With North Carolina businesses, communities, and residents increasingly committed to climate action, Duke Energy’s 15-year power generation plan has drawn more attention than ever before. More than two dozen cities, counties and corporations have submitted comments on the utility’s plan, which will dictate whether and how they achieve their own ambitious renewable energy goals. A record number of stakeholders — from tech company Apple to the City of Charlotte — are formally intervening in the process by which regulators review and approve the document, in an effort to gain more leverage in the proceedings. A…


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  • Environmentalists say Trump’s EPA fell far short in the fight against PFAS

    By: Greg Barnes, Environmental Health News March 9, 2021 On the eve of his last day as president, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Donald Trump sent out a glowing news release highlighting its numerous efforts to protect people from toxic “forever chemicals.” The news release was the last of many from the EPA that touted the agency’s successes in the waning months of Trump’s presidency. In it, the EPA trumpeted the suite of actions that will “continue the significant progress” it has made to combat per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances — or PFAS — found at elevated levels in drinking water in North…


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  • Fractured: Distrustful of frackers, abandoned by regulators

    By: Kristina Marusic, Environmental Health News March 1, 2021 WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa.—For nearly a decade, Bryan Latkanich has been telling anyone who’d listen that allowing two fracking wells to be drilled on his farm is the worst mistake he’s ever made. He’s a single father on disability who leased his land in 2010 at the height of the fracking boom, thrilled to have two wells 400 feet from his home in exchange for what he thought would be millions of dollars in royalties, only to run into problem after problem. The drilling disturbed more land than had been agreed to or permitted, which…


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  • Environmental advocates cheer Delaware River Basin Commission’s ban on fracking

    By: Lisa Scheid, The Reading Eagle March 1, 2021 A decision last week by the Delaware River Basin Commission would ban fracking through the Delaware River watershed, including Berks County. There had been a temporary moratorium instituted in 2010, but that was recently challenged in court. The ban is also likely to face legal challenges. Also last week, the commission voted unanimously to develop regulations for the management of drilling wastewater coming into the watershed and for water being taken out of the watershed for use in drilling operations. The proposed wastewater regulations are to be available by Sept. 30. Hydraulic fracturing, called fracking,…


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