NCDENR

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.


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.

NCDENR

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling against federal efforts to limit mercury and other toxic emissions at coal plants won’t have much direct effect in North Carolina, but the state’s environment secretary argues it should impact the thinking on another, upcoming federal rule to limit carbon emissions.

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.”


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.


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. 

State Charges Duke Energy Record Fine Over Coal Ash

Mar 11, 2015
Duke Energy

North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued the largest fine in its history, against Duke Energy. The agency fined Duke $25 million for pollution from coal ash at its Sutton Lake coal plant, near Wilmington.


Duke And Feds To Settle About Coal Ash Spill

Feb 20, 2015
Appalachian Voices

Federal prosecutors announced Friday evening they filed criminal charges against Duke Energy over last year’s massive coal ash spill into the Dan River. Minutes before that, Duke Energy announced the two parties had reached a settlement. WFAE’s Ben Bradford joined Weekend Edition host Duncan McFadyen to explain the ramifications.


North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources

North Carolina has taken measures since the 1970s to control the top water contaminant in the state, the dirt that pours into rivers and lakes from human activity. But a review of state records reveals a sharp drop-off in enforcement over the past five years and a series of warnings to lawmakers that have gone unheeded.


Fracking Clears Penultimate Hurdle In North Carolina

Nov 14, 2014
Jeff Foster / Flickr

North Carolina is now one step away from legalizing fracking. A state commission has spent the past two years writing a broad set of rules to cover how fracking will work in the state. The commission passed those rules Friday evening. WFAE’s Ben Bradford joined Duncan McFadyen to discuss.


Rules For Fracking In NC Up For Vote

Nov 13, 2014
Fracking
Wikimedia Commons

The controversial oil and gas extraction process known as fracking could take its second-to-last step toward legalization in North Carolina on Friday. A state body meets at 9 a.m. to finalize the rules that will govern fracking.


Duke Plans To Use Coal Ash To Fill Old Mines

Nov 13, 2014
Mark Rumsey / WFAE

Duke Energy has proposed moving millions of tons of coal ash from waste ponds and using it to fill in old mines. So far, the plan has drawn support from frequent adversaries of the utility.

Duke says it has the perfect place to put about three million tons of ash: in old clay mines in Moncure and Sanford, a few dozen miles southwest of Raleigh. Right now, they are just open pits says Duke Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Jabon.

Duke Energy Redoing First Step In Coal Ash Clean-Up

Nov 7, 2014
Ben Bradford / WFAE

North Carolina environmental regulators have ordered Duke Energy to redo the first step in the process of cleaning up its coal ash ponds around the state. The company has to measure contamination from the ponds, and state regulators say their plans to do so are inadequate.

Duke Energy

Opposition is already shaping up to the Environmental Protection Agency rule that, if enacted, would be the first to limit how much carbon the nation’s existing power plants can emit into the air. At the Making Energy Work conference in Uptown Charlotte on Thursday, North Carolina utilities gave an early glimpse of the grounds on which they oppose the rule.

“We’re not sure that it can be implemented as written,” Duke Energy senior vice president Dwight Jacobs said during a panel discussion at the event.

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