Environmentally Speaking

In case you missed it, read our Assistant Secretary Tom Reeder's letter to the editor in the Durham Herald-Sun: DEQ’s science-based decision-making Our primary mission at the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is to protect North Carolina’s environment. In carrying out this mission, DEQ’s technical staff use the most recent science to draft reports and make recommendations on environmental policy.

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Family, friends and co-workers cheered as the state sank two ships Saturday in memory of former Artificial Reef Coordinator Jim Francesconi. The Tramp, a 67-foot long tugboat, went down first on AR-330, the Howard Chapin Reef. The James J. Francesconi, a 107-foot long former U.S. Army LT tugboat, sank at 1:40 p.m. Jim Francesconi headed the state’s Artificial Reef Program for 14 years before losing a battle with leukemia on July 18, 2014 at the age of 54. His efforts for the division resulted in hundreds of enhancements to artificial reefs from the Outer Banks to Long Bay.

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Governor Pat McCrory has become a national leader in fighting the Obama administration’s federal overreach, most recently stopping the federal takeover of the state’s electricity system and millions of acres of private property. Secretary Donald van der Vaart explains in the North State Journal why decisions about how to protect the environment should be made in North Carolina, not Washington, DC: http://www.nsjonline.com/article/2016/05/mccrory-fights-to-keep-electric...

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The Alamance County town of Ossipee will gain an additional 100,000 gallons of water capacity now that a five-mile section of waterline connecting the town with the city of Burlington’s water system has been completed. This is thanks to the McCrory administration’s water infrastructure program, which funded the $2.4 million project. The completion of the project ends the town’ water availability and reliability challenges related to drought conditions. It will also allow Ossipee to disconnect from a well system, with the added advantage of increased water capacity for fire protection.

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It’s impressive what we could accomplish if everyone decided to compost our uneaten food scraps and our dead leaves, twigs and branches instead of throwing them away. Consider this: between 20 percent and 30 percent of the waste that winds up in the landfill are food scraps and yard waste. So just what happens when we compost food scraps and yard waste? Just ask North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who proclaimed May 1-7 as Composting Awareness Week in the Tar Heel State. (See the governor’s proclamation here).

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North Carolina environmental regulators are reversing the previous administration’s decision to bring poultry operations under federal regulation.  The state environmental department will protect the agriculture industry from federal overreach by requiring poultry operations to be permitted by the state rather than by federal requirements. The McCrory administration consistently fights against the federal government’s intrusion into state affairs.

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While the McCrory administration advances energy independence through its all-of-the-above strategy, the Obama administration is kicking the can down the road on offshore exploration. Energy Policy Council member John Brodman explains the long-term consequences on energy costs in the Greenville Daily Reflector: http://reflector.com/Op-Ed/2016/05/05/Removing-Mid-Atlantic-from-offshor...

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The state environmental department announced today it will discontinue the SolarBee project after 21 months of data indicated no significant improvement in water quality. A preliminary assessment released in October 2015 was conducted using data from the first 13 months of the demonstration project and historical data. Secretary van der Vaart requested that staff evaluate the most recent data collected from October 2015 through April 2016 and make a recommendation on how to proceed.

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Fishermen are catching blackfin tuna and dolphin fish offshore. From the piers, they’re catching sea mullet. Want to know what else is biting on the North Carolina coast? There’s an easy way to find out. Each spring, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries begins posting weekly recreational fishing reports, and continues through autumn. Three reports, one each for the Northern, Central and Southern coastal areas, are posted on Mondays (or Tuesdays, if Monday is a holiday).

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