DEQ

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.

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.

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.