Energy/Environment

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NC Department of Environmental Quality

Two public hearings Tuesday will help state regulators decide how and when Duke Energy must deal with coal ash at plants in Belmont and Salisbury. 

David Boraks / WFAE

  The state Coal Ash Management Commission has quietly closed up shop, after Governor Pat McCrory won a battle with lawmakers over its legality. The news comes as the state seeks comments on proposed ratings for Duke Energy’s coal ash sites - something the commission was supposed to oversee.  

Duke CEO Lynn Good
Duke Energy

Beginning a few decades ago, Duke Energy began buying up plants outside the U.S. It also acquired companies beyond the Carolinas that sell energy on the open market. Now, Duke wants to tighten its focus on what it calls its core businesses.

Environmentalists are disappointed over the Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to put the EPA’s Clean Power Plan on hold. But they say it won’t slow progress in converting the country to a cleaner energy supply. 

David Boraks / WFAE

EDEN - Duke Energy has begun removing coal ash from a half dozen old coal-fired power plants across the Carolinas. One of those was the Dan River plant in Eden, North Carolina, on the Virginia border, where a major spill two years ago prompted new rules for coal ash cleanup and storage.  


Jennifer Lang

The calendar says “January” but some trees and shrubs in the Charlotte area have been saying “March” in recent weeks. The unseasonably-warm December sent some plants into flowering mode. So, what will this mean when March really does roll around?  WFAE's Mark Rumsey spoke with Dr. Jeff Gillman, director of the botanical gardens at UNC Charlotte.


Ben Bradford / WFAE

Draft recommendations from North Carolina regulators would require Duke Energy to eventually remove coal ash from two-thirds of the company’s ash ponds at power plants across the state. That’s about the same number of sites that Duke has already said it’s targeting for ash removal. 

Mark Boone / Mecklenburg County

A cleanup of Little Sugar Creek has been completed after a diesel spill just before Thanksgiving.  Ducks along the waterway were covered in oil, but they’ve now been nursed back to health as well. Thursday morning, some returned home Freedom Park, just in time for Christmas.

Steve Hillebrand / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

As 2015 comes to a close, uncertainty remains about the fate of a federal program in North Carolina aimed at protecting the Red Wolf from extinction. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has repeatedly delayed a decision on whether to continue or abandon the Red Wolf Recovery program that was started in 1987. WFAE’s Mark Rumsey has a recap of this year’s developments:

Catawba Lands Conservancy

Congress last week approved a bill that makes tax incentives permanent for agreements that conserve land and preserve open space. Lands conservancies are calling it the most important legislation in decades for their movement.
 
Since 2006, landowners have been allowed to take tax deductions for donating land or granting conservation easements - promises not develop their land. That’s been an incentive for property owners to work with local lands conservancies, the non-profit groups that manage conservation deals.
 

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