Environment

David Boraks / WFAE

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.

File photo. / WFAE

Budgets are supposed to be focused on taxes and spending. But the North Carolina Senate has a reputation for sliding major policy changes into its spending plan. This year is no exception. It contains a plan for a major overhaul to a key water quality regulation. 

The state House and Senate on Tuesday both approved a revised bill that would update the 2014 law governing coal ash cleanups at Duke Energy's North Carolina plants. That sets up a battle with Gov. Pat McCrory, who calls the bill unnecessary and irresponsible and vows a veto. 

Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

Neighbors of Duke Energy's coal ash ponds in Gaston and Rowan counties say they like Duke's proposal this week to provide safe, permanent water supplies. But they also worry it could mean they’ll have to continue to live with coal ash.

David Boraks / WFAE

A Hairy Woodpecker tap-tap-taps on a pine tree just below the summit of Mount Mitchell. It’s a sunny spring day. It’s 46 degrees - about 10 degrees cooler than nearby Burnsville.

With the park now open after winter, superintendent Bryan Wilder says visitors are flocking here.  

David Boraks / WFAE

CMS has hired a Charlotte company to do environmental tests around Hopewell High School in Huntersville. The testing comes as families and local officials puzzle over a large number of cases of eye cancer in recent years.

David Boraks / WFAE

  More than 150 people showed up at a hearing in Hickory Tuesday night to express concern about the 30 million tons of coal ash stored at Duke Energy’s Marshall Steam Station, on Lake Norman. Thirty-two speakers quoted biblical passages, read poetry and urged state regulators to require Duke to transfer the ash to new, lined landfills, away from the lake.    

NC Department of Environmental Quality

Public hearings begin this week on proposed rules and deadlines for closing Duke Energy’s North Carolina coal ash sites. The rules are important because they’ll set deadlines for cleanups and determine whether Duke gets to cap the ash in place, or must move it to more secure locations.

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

The City of Charlotte has fined owners of the NASCAR Plaza building in uptown Charlotte for a November fuel spill that killed and injured wildlife in nearby Little Sugar Creek. City officials say cleanup costs for building owner Parkway Properties totaled about $83,000 - including a $4,200 fine.

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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