Energy & Environment

News and information about energy, environment or both from Charlotte and the Carolinas. 

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Ag Officials Fear Avian Flu Headed To NC

Sep 2, 2015
USDA

North Carolina agriculture officials are warning poultry farmers to prepare for the avian flu this fall. The virus has already wreaked havoc in northern poultry states, and the worry is that it will travel south.

NC Senate Votes To Oppose EPA Carbon Plan

Aug 5, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE

The North Carolina Senate does not like the Obama administration’s sweeping new rule to limit carbon emissions from power plants. The Senate voted Wednesday to restrict state compliance with the law and to sue the administration.   

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, along with many Republican governors, opposes the carbon rule taking effect and has said he plans a lawsuit. The Senate bill requires one.

In the meantime, it orders state environment officials not to take the first step of the rule, developing a plan for cutting carbon emissions by about a third.

McCrory Will Sue EPA Over Carbon Rule

Aug 4, 2015
Governor's office

Republican administrations across the country have opposed the Obama administration’s plan to regulate carbon emissions since it was first announced, and North Carolina is no exception. 


Charlotte Reaches EPA Ozone Standard, For Now

Jul 29, 2015
2014 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report

Charlotte’s air quality no longer violates federal standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says ozone readings now meet levels consistent with its 2008 rule. However, the improved rating may not last long.


Drought Takes Hold In 20 North Carolina Counties

Jul 16, 2015
North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council

For the first time since 2012, a substantial part of North Carolina entered the first stages of drought this month, including Mecklenburg County.


Report Illustrates NC's Unique Solar Energy Makeup

Jul 10, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE

North Carolina produces more solar energy than any state except California, but a new report ranks Charlotte near the bottom of major cities for solar installations.


Federal Judge Rejects State Lawsuit Against EPA

Jul 9, 2015

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources against its federal counterpart.

In December 2013, the state challenged new, tighter limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for air pollution the size of smoke particles or smaller. Cars, refineries, factories, and power plants—especially coal plants—emit this particulate matter.

Most Duke Plants Ready For EPA Mercury Rule Anyway

Jun 30, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE

A federal rule to lower mercury, arsenic, lead, and other potentially toxic heavy metals from power plants lies in limbo after a Supreme Court decision Monday. But in the Carolinas, the practical effect will be minimal.


Duke Proposes Moving More Coal Ash

Jun 24, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE

At the Riverbend coal plant near Charlotte, a front end loader shovels a load of coal ash and drops it into the bed of a truck, which will haul the ash to a landfill in Georgia. Riverbend is one of four coal plants where Duke and state lawmakers committed to removing all the ash from ponds where it’s stored. Heavy metals, like arsenic, can seep from the ash into groundwater.


The Industry That Wants More Coal Ash

Jun 22, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE

Since a spill polluted the Dan River early last year, coal ash has become an environmental head ache for Duke Energy. But while Duke, state regulators, and environmental groups struggle with how to safely store or bury more than 100 million tons of the waste, other industries don’t look at coal ash as waste—it’s a commodity, and they want more.


Duke To Pay Chatham County For Coal Ash Storage

Jun 16, 2015
Charah

Duke Energy and Chatham County have resolved a dispute over the transfer of coal ash.

Despite Drilling, Fracking Far From Imminent In NC

Jun 12, 2015
usgs.gov

News that state environment officials were drilling near the Dan River last week to look for oil and gas caused a stir. One headline read: “North Carolina Wants To Frack In Small Town Already Struggling With Coal Ash.”


Big Tech Joins Fight Against NC Solar Changes

May 29, 2015
Thomas Kohler / Flickr

The biggest companies in tech want top North Carolina lawmakers to back away from changing the state’s renewable energy laws. They join the solar energy industry and environmental advocates in their opposition to legislation that’s nearly reached the governor’s desk.


Gas-Guzzling NASCAR Takes Green Initiatives To Heart

May 22, 2015
Michael Tomsic

When you think "environmentally friendly," NASCAR is probably not the first thing that comes to mind.

After all, burning fuel is a fundamental part of stock car racing. But NASCAR, like other pro sports, is trying to decrease its carbon footprint. Some of those initiatives will be on display at the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Duke Pleads Guilty To Coal Ash Misconduct

May 14, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE

Duke Energy has pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges for its handling of coal ash, which led to last year’s Dan River spill and violated the Clean Water Act around the state.


After a battery of tests on private drinking water wells near coal ash ponds around North Carolina, health officials have cautioned many residents against drinking from those wells. But officials are hesitant to draw a link between contaminants in the wells and the nearby coal ash ponds.


Duke Feels The Effect Of Weather In Earnings

May 1, 2015
Google

Cold weather helped and drought hurt Duke Energy’s earnings this quarter. The company announced its results today, which included the effects of its settlement with federal prosecutors and a changing customer base.


Ben Bradford / WFAE

Duke Energy has taken about a fifth of the power it can generate off-line in North Carolina, as part of what the energy industry calls “outage season.”


Drinking Wells Show Coal Ash Contaminants

Apr 21, 2015

Eighty-seven homes near Duke Energy coal ash ponds around North Carolina have well-water contaminated with heavy metals, according to state environmental regulators. 

naturalresources.house.gov

The debate over what offshore drilling would mean for North Carolina played out before a U.S. House subcommittee Wednesday. In the red corner, North Carolina's governor. In the blue corner, a commissioner from a small beach town.


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