Department of Environmental Quality

The Southern Environmental Law Center – or SELC -- says the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality should shut down Chemours, and they should do it now. On behalf of Cape Fear River Watch, the SELC recently told DEQ they have the power and legal authority to take that step. 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that he wants to address the problems of water and air pollution by increasing resources for the state’s environmental and health agencies.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has added two more weeks for public feedback on coal ash disposal and recycling.  DEQ held a meeting on that topic in Wilmington last month. The agency decided to extend the comment period after citizens said they wanted more time to provide feedback on the rules.

Updated 6:35 p.m.

North Carolina environmental regulators have issued a key water permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It's one of the last permits needed before construction begins in the state.

Ted Davis knows any legislation needs to get through a sharply divided General Assembly.

The Wilmington Republican who chairs the Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality has said more controversial issues like funding for the Department of Environmental Quality can come later.

After Democrat Roy Cooper defeated Republican Governor Pat McCrory a year ago, state environmental secretary Donald van der Vaart gave up his office. After all, he was a McCrory appointee. But he didn't leave the agency. Instead he demoted himself and the department's No. 2 official, John Evans, to staff positions. The two men have since spoken out on policy issues, sometimes at odds with state policy. Now the Department of Environmental Quality has put the van der Vaart and Evans on paid  "investigatory leave."  WFAE's David Boraks joins "All Things Considered" host Mark Rumsey to talk about the situation.

In an uncommon step for a state regulator, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on a federal government program that may allow offshore oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean.

Flooding. Sewer spills. Contaminated drinking water.

Across North Carolina's communities, water systems have been pushed to their limits, and in some cases overrun. Hurricane Matthew, for example, wreaked havoc. On a smaller scale, flooding throughout the Triangle this week showed that drainage systems are susceptible even outside major disasters.

A federal appeals court has granted a request by the state Department of Environmental Quality to withdraw its legal challenge to former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan. The move comes amid a changing of the guard in both Raleigh and Washington, where the Trump administration has said it plans to cancel the rules.

Governor Roy Cooper has announced his first two nominees for his cabinet. They would run the Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Quality.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says coal ash ponds and landfills disproportionately affect poor and minority communities across the U.S. But that’s not what North Carolina officials found when they conducted their own “environmental justice reviews” of two sites this year.

Duke Energy and state environmental regulators have settled a dispute over the size of a state fine over a coal ash spill near Duke's Dan River plant in Eden in February 2014.  

Duke agreed to pay $6 million for violations of the federal Clean Water Act during and after the spill in February 2014.

A public hearing starts Monday in Raleigh on Duke Energy's planned acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas. Approval by the North Carolina Utilities Commission is the deal's final hurdle. 

Duke announced last October it was buying Piedmont for $6.7 billion. That includes $4.9 billion in cash and taking over $1.8 billion in Piedmont debt. Piedmont has two things Duke wants:  

Updated 11 p.m.

Governor Pat McCrory has signed a bill that will allow Duke Energy to store coal ash in place permanently at as many as half its plants in North Carolina. The bill also provides a permanent water supply to neighbors of Duke's coal ash ponds. 



  Follow-up tests last week found no arsenic in Mountain Island Lake, according to a report from the state Department of Environmental Quality.  

Tests last month had found arsenic at nearly 10 times federal limits, near where Duke Energy was draining water from coal ash ponds at the Riverbend plant in Mount Holly.  

Duke Energy has stopped draining coal ash ponds into Mountain Island Lake after recent county tests found elevated levels of arsenic in the water. State environmental regulators say they’re investigating whether Duke violated state law.

A coalition of environmental groups released a series of interactive maps documenting thousands of large-scale hog, cattle and poultry farms across North Carolina.  

The maps identify more than 4,000 hog waste lagoons and 14,000 poultry barns. Environmental advocates  say the large amount of waste generated by  confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, poses environmental and public health risks that the state government has failed to properly regulate.

Time may be running out for North Carolina lawmakers to reach a compromise on how to update the state's coal ash cleanup law. That's according to the chief sponsor of a bill that Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed last week.

A superior court judge this week ordered Duke Energy to dig up and remove coal at four North Carolina plants - something it's already doing under the state's 2014 coal ash cleanup law.

Judge Paul Ridgeway ordered excavations of coal ash basins at the Riverbend plant in Mount Holly as well as plants on the Dan River, Asheville, and Wilmington.  State regulators had sued Duke in 2013 to seek cleanups at the four plants, and environmental groups later joined the suits.

Sec. Van Der Vaart Defends Oft-Criticized DEQ

Feb 4, 2016
Youtube

The state agency tasked with protecting the environment has been under scathing, near-constant criticism from environmentalists during the tenure of Governor Pat McCrory.  The state saw a dramatic political shift with McCrory's 2012 election and the subsequent election of Republican super-majorities to the House and Senate.  Since then, lawmakers have rolled back environmental regulations and McCrory redirected what was then known as DENR, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in a way that emphasized "customer service," or what critics perceive as a business-friendly approac

Department of Environmental Quality via lakenormancitizen.com

North Carolina regulators have cited a Duke Energy coal ash deposit site for environmental violations, this time at the Asheville Regional Airport.

Media outlets report the state Department of Environmental Quality cited Duke on Wednesday for two violations at the Asheville site. In both cases Duke, and site operator Charah, failed to notify the agency within 24 hours of a structural breach caused by severe erosion that had exposed coal ash and a plastic cover to the elements.

The department says Duke discovered the problems on Oct. 29, but didn't report them until Nov. 2.