Environment NC

The Trump administration has said a recent executive order banning offshore drilling that included North Carolina has no legal effect on current applications to survey for offshore oil and gas.

With the federal government's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, state and local governments in North Carolina have set their own ambitious goals for addressing climate change. Now, they're puzzling over how to carry out the big changes needed to reach those goals - such as switching to electric vehicles and shifting to more renewable energy. At least for now, it's still mostly data-gathering and discussion. 

an offshore drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico
Creative Commons / Flickr https://flic.kr/p/mU1Qdz

  

 

  A North Carolina environmental group has released a report detailing the potential risks of the Trump administration’s plans to open the nation’s coastlines to more oil and gas drilling. Environment North Carolina cites the dangers from spills during drilling, and also from pollution from the presence of additional infrastructure like ships, ports and pipelines.

A water fountain inside a hallway at a school at Chapel Hill Carrboro Public Schools.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

Even low levels of lead can cause harm to children, but 22 states, including North Carolina, don’t require schools and day cares to test the levels of lead in children’s drinking water.

A map showing orange areas on the outskirts of Asheville, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Durham, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Jaskconville and Wilmington.
Courtesy of Grady McCallie/North Carolina Conservation Network

North Carolina Conservation Network just released its first-ever “State of the Environment” report. It includes data analysis, polling and more than 100 indicators that measure the overall well-being of the environment and the people of North Carolina.

Several communities in rural North Carolina struggle with water infrastructure maintenance.
Courtesy of Flickr user mycieau

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers is rolling out a bill that would require school districts and child care facilities to conduct routine testing of their water fountains for possible contaminants. 

The proposal comes after Mecklenburg and Guilford Counties recently did voluntary tests of their water, and found elevated levels of lead in taps at dozens of schools.

A picture of a poultry house.
Joe Valbuena / USDA

On Tuesday another hog nuisance lawsuit opened in federal court featuring neighbors of a swine farm in Sampson County who complained of smells and noise among other nuisances. These nuisance lawsuits have drawn lots of public attention to the issues of hog waste management.

A picture of a coal ash pond.
Waterkeeper Alliance

How does coal ash impact human health? A new review of existing research shows a link between living close to a coal power plant or coal ash pond and higher risks of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as higher risks of premature mortality, lung cancer, infant mortality, and poor child health. The research does not draw a direct link between these conditions and coal ash. 

A copperhead snake
Jeff Beane

With warmer weather and more outdoor activities comes the increase in snake sightings in North Carolina. There are nearly 40 species of snakes in the state with one of the most common being the copperhead. Despite the fact that there are copperheads in every county in North Carolina, there are still a lot of misconceptions and myths about them says herpetologist Jeff Beane

Wind Energy In NC

Jul 16, 2015
Wind turbines
Martin Pettitt / Flickr Creative Commons

A stretch of land that was once called “The Desert” by locals is now the site of a potential new economy in North Carolina: wind energy.

And the market for the energy produced by the wind farms already has a buyer: Amazon. Meanwhile, the legislature continues to debate environmental deregulation measures.

Image of the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh, North Carolina
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jmturner

State legislators have made headlines this week.

The House offered support for Governor McCrory’s economic incentives package while Senate leadership proposed their own plan. 

Legislators also offered measures to eliminate religious exemptions for student vaccinations and proposed legislation that would hinder citizens' abilities to fight large developments across the state. And a three-judge panel unanimously sided with Governor McCrory and two former governors in a lawsuit against the legislature on the appointments of three environmental commissions.

Jennette's Pier
Dave DeWitt

 A new report from advocacy group Environment North Carolina says the state is under-utilizing its capacity to produce electricity from wind power.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, North Carolina has the most offshore wind potential of any Atlantic state.

If tapped, the report says offshore wind resources in the state could grow to power 2.5 million homes by 2030.

Environment NC
Dave DeWitt

Environmental groups are putting pressure on Governor Pat McCrory to do more to clean up coal ash across the state. Environment North Carolina delivered a petition with 40,000 signatures to his office today.

Legislation goes into effect today that directs Duke Energy to clean up coal ash at the four pits deemed to be the highest risk. The law gives Duke 15 years to complete the clean-up.

Environmentalists say that doesn’t go far enough.