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Environmental News Update

Jul 29, 2016
Pixabay.com

Monday, August 1

An environmental news update with a panel of environmental reporters. We get updates on plans for coal ash landfills, find out how and why North Carolina’s air quality has improved. You may have noticed the summer of 2016 has been hot – in fact, on average, the world has been two degrees hotter than what we experienced in the 20th century. What that means and its connection to the drought in the southwestern part of the state. Those stories and other environmental news.

WFAE

The heat is back, and that's pushing power plants to the limit. Duke Energy is testing a new way to trim demand – with a competition that challenges customers to turn off the A/C on days when electricity demand is highest. Monday was one of those days. 

Coal ash ponds at Riverbend Steam Station in Mount Holly.
David Boraks / WFAE

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.

N.C. General Assembly

  A bill that would have banned wind farms across much of North Carolina died when the state legislature adjourned last week, but several lawmakers said Thursday they'll reintroduce it next year.  

Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation


 North Carolina lawmakers have sent Governor Pat McCrory a bill that would relax the state's coal ash cleanup law. It passed the House, 82-32, Thursday night and immediately drew criticism from environmentalists.

Coal ash ponds at Riverbend Steam Station in Mount Holly.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated 9:11 p.m.
Lawmakers have reached a compromise with Gov. Pat McCrory on how to revise state law requiring cleanups at Duke Energy's North Carolina coal ash sites.  The new bill could let Duke leave ash where it is at some plants, instead of removing it.

The North Carolina Senate approved a bill Monday that would ban wind farms across much of the state. The "Military Operations Protection Act," which passed 33-14, would not allow wind turbines in areas with military training flights.

 Gov. Pat McCrory has followed through on his threat to veto a bill revising the state's coal ash cleanup law. In a statement Monday night, McCrory said the bill's attempt to revive the Coal Ash Management Commission was unconstitutional. He also said the bill weakens environmental protections.

David Boraks / WFAE

Lawmakers are debating a bill that would give Duke Energy more time and flexibility in cleaning up coal ash at its North Carolina plants. A Duke official said Thursday that Duke needs the change because it can't hit state deadlines for removing the ash at most of its plants.

N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

  Duke Energy will have to remove coal ash stored near all 14 of its North Carolina power plants under final risk classifications out Wednesday from state regulators. But that may not be the last word.

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