Energy/Environment

Local News
7:41 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Dan River Dredging Finished, Less Than 10 Percent Of Ash Removed

A plume of coal ash swirls in the Dan River, during the February spill.
Credit Appalachian Voices

Duke Energy announced it has finished actively cleaning coal ash from the Dan River, a little less than six months after a massive spill turned the water gray. The bulk of the ash will remain in the river.

Between 30,000 and 40,000 tons of ash, containing heavy metals including arsenic and lead, spilled into the river in February. It flowed down the Dan River, collecting in pockets on its banks and bottom.

Duke has dredged three main areas—next to the spill site, from the water treatment plants of cities downriver, and, the largest, near a dam outside the city of Danville.

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Local News
8:21 am
Wed July 16, 2014

NC Fracking Comment Period Begins

The controversial oil and gas extraction process known as fracking took another step toward legalization in North Carolina Tuesday.

The state formally opened a public comment period, a time when anyone can officially weigh in on the rules that will ultimately govern fracking.

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Local News
9:21 am
Tue July 15, 2014

NC Senate Unanimously Opposes House Coal Ash Changes

The North Carolina House and Senate have found another area of disagreement to go along with the budget. One of the legislature’s top priorities—a bill to address coal ash—failed to advance to the governor’s desk Monday night.


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Local News
4:57 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

NC Utilities And Solar Developers Argue Over Price

Electric utilities and renewable energy developers are facing off this week in front of the North Carolina utilities commission over the price of renewable energy, and how much companies like Duke Energy should have to pay for it. The dispute has drawn in both national environmental organizations and Google.

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Charlotte Observer
3:25 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Airport Seeks New Vendor To Run Troubled Worm Farm, Recycling Program

Red wrigglers eat waste at Charlotte Douglas airport.
Credit Julie Rose / WFAE File Photo

The worms at Charlotte Douglas International Airport could soon be under new management, as the airport seeks a new contractor to run its recycling program.

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Local News
9:18 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Four Things To Know About The House Coal Ash Bill

Credit Duke Energy

The question about what to do with coal ash around the state came to the North Carolina House floor last night. In a contentious three hour debate, Republican lawmakers defended controversial changes to the bill they received from the Senate and defeated more than a dozen amendments. As the bill nears becoming law, here are four things to know about the latest version.

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Local News
5:40 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

NC Renewable Energy, And Surcharges, Set To Rise

Credit Duke Energy/Flickr

Duke Energy reports it cost about $30 million to comply with North Carolina’s renewable energy requirement last year. As that requirement doubles next year, Duke is petitioning for an increase in rates.


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Local News
10:18 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Contentious Debate, Unanimous Vote For Coal Ash Bill In NC Senate

The retired Riverbend Steam Station contains four million tons of coal ash and lies on the bank of Mountain Island Lake, Charlotte's drinking water source. The plant is one of four specifically listed for closure in the Senate bill.
Credit Mark Rumsey / WFAE

The North Carolina Senate tentatively approved a bill last night that would determine what happens to the coal ash ponds at all 14 of Duke Energy’s coal plants in the state. The debate was far more rancorous than the final vote.


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Local News
10:34 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Fast-tracked, Bipartisan NC Bill Pushes Water Lawsuits Forward

Water flows from a kitchen faucet.
Credit Jenn Durfey / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

A new North Carolina law could allow two water contamination lawsuits to go forward, after they were stymied by a U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this month.


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Local News
8:24 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Fact Check: Carcinogens In Rowan County Wells Overblown In Recent Reports

Discolored water seeps up on private property near Duke Energy's retired Buck coal plant. Samples turned up high levels of coal ash constituents.
Credit Dot Griffith / Waterkeeper Alliance

A story has been making the rounds this week about a Rowan County community called Dukeville. Environmentalists found toxic heavy metals in drinking water wells near Duke Energy’s retired Buck coal plant, suggesting contamination from coal ash. One metal found in all the wells has generated the most attention.  

“A cancer-causing chemical, called hexavalent chromium,” WCNC reported.

Chromium’s “most toxic form,” an Associated Press investigative story reads.

WFAE’s Ben Bradford joined All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey to discuss problems with these reports.


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