Energy/Environment

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Environmental advocates are warning that a state regulatory change could increase air pollution while shielding the polluters from public scrutiny. They're reacting to a proposal from the North Carolina Environmental Department that would broaden exemptions for small manufacturers.

bobistraveling / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

North Carolina is home to 14.4 billion trees. Those trees provide habitat for animals and a healthy forestry business in the state. They also absorb carbon, helping fight the effects of climate change. The growth of burning wood pellets for utility-scale electricity may push the forestry industry even higher. But it’s a development that some say could have a catastrophic effect on global warming. Dave DeWitt of WUNC reports.

David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy is the nation’s largest power company, supplying electricity to more than 7 million customers in the Southeast and Midwest. But for the past six years, the Charlotte company also has been quietly building a separate startup business that sells wind and solar power to other utilities and businesses.

www.duke-energy.com

In response to a flood of criticism, Duke Energy is changing its plan to power the western Carolinas.  It's still replacing a coal plant in Asheville with natural gas, but the company will not build a transmission line through the mountains.

Duke Energy received more than 9,000 comments on the project, and much of the outcry focused on the transmission line.

Southern Environmental Law Center attorney D.J. Gerken says the large power line would've been a visual scar that cut through conservation lands and fragmented habitats.   

ncdenr.org

North Carolina's environmental regulators now say they fully support a regulatory overhaul that Governor Pat McCrory signed recently. The regulators say lawmakers addressed their concerns in the final bill.

Public Domain

Environmental groups are urging Governor Pat McCrory to veto a bill they've nicknamed the Polluter Protection Act. Officials in McCrory's own environmental department have also said they oppose parts of the bill.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

In North Carolina, what started with a record state fine over one coal ash facility is now ending with a much smaller price tag that'll cover all of Duke Energy's coal ash facilities. The state environmental department announced Tuesday it's settling the lawsuit, in part because of conflicting guidance from the McCrory and Perdue administrations on fines.

North Carolina's budget deal is heading to Governor Pat McCrory's desk, and McCrory says he'll sign it. WFAE's Michael Tomsic joined Marshall Terry to go over some of the details.

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Those in North Carolina’s solar industry will have their fingers crossed as the North Carolina House and Senate approach a compromise on next year’s budget. The state’s solar tax credit is set to expire at the end of the year. The industry claims without an extension—and with other changes lawmakers are considering—North Carolina solar will stall.

Conservation Fund

Apple, Inc. is partnering with a conservation group to protect 3,600 acres of forest land in North Carolina’s Brunswick County.

Apple is working with the Virginia-based Conservation Fund to protect a working forest in Brunswick County from development. Working forests are managed to sustainably produce timber while also providing recreational opportunities and protecting wildlife habitats.

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