• EPA rule extends life of toxic coal ash ponds

    By Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill July 30, 2020 The Trump administration is extending the life of giant pits of toxic coal sludge, a move critics say further risks contamination of nearby water sources. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) late Wednesday announced it had finalized a new regulation 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. “Today’s action makes changes to the closure regulations for coal ash storage that enhance protections for public health while giving electric utilities enough time to retrofit or replace unlined impoundment…


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  • 21 state attorneys general sue over new Trump water rule

    By: Don Thompson, Associated Press July 21, 2020 Attorneys general in 20 states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration on Tuesday, alleging that new federal rules undermine their ability to protect rivers, lakes and streams within their borders. They say that new final rules issued last week by the Environmental Protection Agency alter a practice dating back more than 30 years giving state governments the authority to review, block or put conditions on federally permitted water projects. President Donald Trump in April 2019 issued an executive order directing the change that critics said could make it…


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  • House bill would ban sale, production of PFAS in North Carolina

    By: Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch May 15, 2020 Companies could no longer manufacture PFAS, also known as perfluorinated compounds, in North Carolina under a new proposal, House Bill 1109. If enacted into law, the measure would also prohibit the export of the toxic compounds, “except for products specifically authorized or required to contain PFAS under federal law.” The bill was introduced May 14; it has eight co-sponsors, all Democrats: Pricey Harrison, John Autry, Alison Dahle, Susan Fisher, Marcia Morey, Deb Butler, Zack Hawkins and Raymond Smith. There are 5,000 types of PFAS. Most are used in, or byproducts…


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  • 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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  • 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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  • In the House, a major amendment to controversial Duke Energy rate-making bill hands the hot potato back to the Senate

    By: Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch August 21, 2019 A key provision in Senate Bill 559 was upended in the House Tuesday afternoon, which made the measure more palatable to opponents but added uncertainty to it future. Colloquially known as the Duke Energy rate-making bill, it contained a controversial section that allowed the utilities commission to approve multi-year rate plans. Utilities could then avoid requesting rate hikes more often. While bill proponents in the legislature said it would add certainty to rate-making, there’s no guarantee that rates would decrease. If they increased, customers could be locked into higher bills for…


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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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  • 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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  • Victory for Coal Ash Communities Across NC!

    You did it! You spoke out against injustice, and won! On April 1st, DEQ announced that communities across North Carolina will have toxic coal ash removed from unlined, leaking pits and placed in lined landfills. Since the Dan River spill 5 years ago, impacted coal ash community members and advocates have been coming together to demand cleanup of the coal ash that Duke Energy dumped in their communities. There have been countless letters written, phone…


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