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A state environmental program that has helped create thousands of jobs and spurred more than $14 billion in economic growth has celebrated a big milestone.  The North Carolina Brownfields Program this week celebrated the signing of its 400th agreement, which puts special conditions for developers to cleanup or mitigate contamination so a site can be safely redeveloped and put back into productive use.

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Educators from all regions of North Carolina gathered at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Research Center last week for the 6th annual meeting for nonformal educators. The meeting reached its highest attendance to date with more than 90 nonformal educators representing a wide variety of nonprofit and city, county, state and federal agencies and facilities, including nature centers, science museums, gardens, arboretums, aquariums, state parks, the N.C. Forest Service, the Wildlife Resources Commission, 4-H, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and others. 

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State environmental officials have received the full settlement payment from Duke Energy for environmental violations related to the February 2014 coal ash spill at the company’s Dan River power plant in Eden. The fine, which is the second largest environmental fine in state history, addresses violations of the federal Clean Water Act that the company committed during and after the Dan River spill.

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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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A court ruling this month reaffirmed the state environmental department’s decision to issue a freshwater discharge permit in Beaufort County that protects public health and the environment.    The state environmental department originally issued the permit in 2013 which granted permission for Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. to discharge up to 12 million gallons per day of comingled stormwater and groundwater from a proposed mine near Vanceboro into tributaries of Blounts Creek in Beaufort County.   

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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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