Environmentally Speaking

The U.S Supreme Court made an unprecedented moved yesterday in ruling to put a hold on the Obama administration’s federal power plan that would raise North Carolina power bills and hurt economic growth across the country.  The ruling suspends the federal government’s ability to impose the plan until the legal challenges have been resolved and is a strong indicator that the petitioning states, which include North Carolina, will succeed in their challenge of the rule.  

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RALEIGH - Leaders in Governor Pat McCrory's administration were in Kannapolis Wednesday to honor Stanley Black & Decker as part of the governor's promotion of superior environmental performance. Secretary Donald R. van der Vaart, who leads McCrory’s environmental agency, recognized Stanley Black & Decker – Kannapolis as the state’s first Environmental Steward of its kind.

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In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to block the Obama administration’s federal power plan, the state will continue to clean up its power sector without expending resources to comply with a plan that is likely to be thrown out in court. “North Carolina is a national leader in improving air quality while keeping energy prices low,” said Secretary Donald R. van der Vaart. “North Carolina has achieved a 25% reduction in greenhouse gases since 2005 without federal intrusion and we will continue to improve air quality in the manner that best suits our state’s needs.”  

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State regulators issued a $6.6 million fine yesterday to 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 covers civil penalties the company committed before, during and after the spill and only accounts for violations that the utility pled guilty to in criminal court in May 2015. The agency reserves the right to issue additional fines for other violations associated with the spill.

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At more than 27,000 acres, the Buckridge Coastal Reserve in Tyrrell County is already the largest of the 10 sites in the state’s Coastal Reserve program. But it’s about to get even bigger. Thanks to a grant from the National Coastal Wetlands Program and additional funding from the U.S. Air Force, the reserve will soon acquire an additional 2,040 acres, an area known as the Woodley Tract.

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Picture your photograph on the cover of the 2016 Marine Fisheries Reef Guide! The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is holding a photo contest to find the best snapshot of a North Carolina artificial reef.   The grand prize winner will receive a $125 cash prize and the photo will be featured on the front cover of the 2016 Marine Fisheries Reef Guide. The second place winner will receive a $50 cash prize, and the third place winner will receive a $25 cash prize. All winners will be recognized with a photo on the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Artificial Reef Program webpage.  

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Solar and nuclear energy resources are important tools in Governor McCrory’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, which promotes all sources of clean, reliable and affordable energy. As the only state in the Southeast with a renewable energy portfolio standard, North Carolina has, through various incentives, fostered tremendous growth of the solar energy industry. We ranked 4th in the nation and 9th per capita for total solar electric capacity installed in 2014, making solar a growing part of the state’s energy portfolio.  

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North Carolina is tackling the challenge of tightened federal regulations for public water supplies to reduce exposure to disinfection byproducts. Disinfection byproducts are chemicals that are formed when disinfectants added to water the water supply to prevent waterborne diseases react with naturally occurring organic matter.Public water systems are required to meet maximum contaminant levels because disinfection byproducts can cause cancer if ingested over a lifetime. 

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