• Major energy bill emerges at NC statehouse

    By: Travis Fain, WRAL June 17, 2021 RALEIGH, N.C. — State lawmakers released a long-anticipated energy bill Tuesday, saying it would retire coal-fired power plants faster, cut greenhouse gas emissions and shape North Carolina energy policy for the better part of a decade. The bill came together over months of closed-door negotiations with Duke Energy, other electricity providers, the solar power industry and large electricity users, such as manufacturers and retailers. The 47-page bill is complex, wide-ranging and may morph as it begins the public stage of its legislative journey. Environmental groups and others cut out of the crafting process thus far were digesting the…


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  • NC Senate GOP rejects Cooper’s DEQ appointee

    By: Laura Leslie, WRAL June 2, 2021 RALEIGH, N.C. — After an angry debate, a key Senate committee voted on party lines Wednesday to reject Gov. Roy Cooper’s nomination of Dionne Delli-Gatti as secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Quality. Senate Leader Phil Berger is urging Cooper to withdraw Delli-Gatti’s nomination before it goes to the Senate floor for a vote. Senate GOP leaders say they have approved all 15 nominees as agency heads sent to them by the Democratic governor. But in Cooper’s first term, at least one nomination had to be quietly pulled because Senate Republicans threatened to reject it. Sen….


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  • Two NC bills have different agendas for permits in environmental projects. Here’s what they would do.

    By: Kristen Johnson, The Fayetteville Observer May 13, 2021 Two bills in the North Carolina General Assembly have different agendas for the operation of environmental projects and their impacts on communities living next to them. One would make it easier for corporations to get permits needed to operate solid waste management systems, the other would make it tougher. In the Senate, the NC Farm Act of 2021 calls for a general permit for the installation and operation of biogas digester systems, which is favored by the pork industry but condemned by some community members. In the House, the Environmental Justice…


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  • 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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