Environmentally Speaking

DEQ kicks off its lunchtime speaker series next week with John Gerwin, research curator in ornithology with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. His presentation on attracting and caring for backyard birds will take place on December 7 at noon. The guest lecture series is hosted by the Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs and features professionals from a wide range of environmental and science backgrounds representing local and state agencies, colleges and universities, and other organizations throughout the state.

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State environmental officials finalized last week a consent order for Duke Energy’s Riverbend facility in Gaston County. The consent order imposes additional monitoring of seeps to ensure protection of the environment. The order also includes fines for seeps that were supposed to be permitted back in 2010. The consent order is part of an overall strategy requiring full closure of the Riverbend facility by August 1, 2019, and in accordance with the state coal ash law The consent order was publicly noticed and the comment period was closed on Nov. 4, 2016. 

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Governor Pat McCrory announced today that more than $945,000 in grants has been awarded for nine projects that will help North Carolina communities restore streams, reduce flooding and erosion, aid in stormwater management, provide recreational opportunities and benefit the state’s water resources.    “Our natural habitat is what makes North Carolina a beautiful state to live in and to visit, “said Gov. McCrory. “These grants serve as investments into our state’s resources that will yield valuable returns for years to come.”

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State environmental officials visited Cumberland County this week to tour a temporary storm debris site that was opened to help local residents clean up after Hurricane Matthew. Under the direction of Governor Pat McCrory, the state environmental department has activated more than 60 temporary debris sites for use in eastern North Carolina to collect yard waste, land clearing or demolition debris from the storm.

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State environmental officials visited Harnett County this week to tour a temporary storm debris site that was opened to help local residents clean up after Hurricane Matthew. Under the direction of Governor Pat McCrory, the state environmental department has activated more than 60 temporary debris sites for use in eastern North Carolina to collect yard waste, land clearing or demolition debris from the storm.

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The McCrory administration has awarded $201,032 in grants for projects aimed at reducing air pollution from mobile sources.  Mobile sources are any type of vehicle that can pollute the air, including automobiles, trucks, buses, locomotives, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, construction equipment and lawnmowers.  The grants can cover a range of projects, such as retrofitting school buses with controls to curb diesel emissions, repowering non-road equipment with cleaner-burning engines, and converting vehicles to run on alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas.

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The McCrory administration issued the state’s largest-ever penalty for environmental damages in 2015 – fining Duke Energy $25.1 million for coal ash contamination – yet when it tried to enforce the fine it learned that policy decisions made by previous administrations made that impossible.

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