Tuesday, December 27, 2011

EPRI Electric Vehicle Report

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) released a report on the technology and status of electric vehicles and the effect that use of electric vehicles will have on the environment and the electrical grid. This report is available free from EPRI. Click here.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays

From Conserve NC to you and your family:
Best wishes for a happy holiday season and new year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pantego Wind Farm

Conserve NC is a supporter of alternatives to fossil fuel, including wind energy. We recognize that one of the limitations of wind energy is the environmental consequences of improper siting, particularly the effect on wildlife.

One example of bad wind farm siting is the proposed Pantego wind farm in Beauford County in eastern NC. This is a proposed 80MW wind farm that is to be located near the Pongo lake area of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Pantego Wind Energy LLC has asked for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the NC Utilities Commission.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wind Power

ConserveNC supports the development of wind power when the wind turbine sites will not adversely affect either people or wildlife. One of the major problems of wind energy is the fact that improperly sited wind turbines can kill birds and bats or disrupt the habitat of wildlife.

Certain locations off the shore of NC are not used by birds or other wildlife that would be disrupted by wind turbines. These areas also have relatively strong and steady wind and will supply a large amount of energy. They should be used.

For more information, see offshorewindnc.org/

In future posts, we will comment about wind power, particularly off shore wind power. So stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NC needs to be cautious on offshore drilling and fracking

The Wilmington Star News, in an editorial, said it better than we could: North Carolina needs to move very cautiously on offshore drilling. According to the editorial, according a study recently released by Duke University's Center on Global Change researchers found a correlation between fracking and methane content in well water in Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania.
The editorial also pointed out that the drilling of a single well can produce over a million gallons of waste water containing hazardous chemicals. Also, the water used for fracking can use water supplies during a drought.

As for offshore drilling, the editorial argued that it can happen here. An accident similar to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill would blacken our beaches with crude oil. Coastal communities are concerned about the effect on tourism and fishing.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Largest Landfill Gas-to-Energy program in the state kicks off

The Sampson Independent reports here on the landmark partnership between Gregory Poole Equipment Company, Progress Energy and Waste Industries to produce electricity from the methane produced in the Sampson County landfill to power 4,000 homes for an estimated 70 plus years.

This project has recently been deemed by the U.S. EPA "as an endeavor that will effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve local air quality…and develop a lasting renewable source of energy. Annual environmental benefits are…equivalent to taking 5,400 passenger vehicles off the road, the carbon dioxide emissions from 66,300 barrels of oil consumed, or carbon sequestered annually by 6,100 acres of pine forest.

For a photo of ground breaking a year ago, with Gregory Poole Jr., Dix Park advocate, in this EPA link .

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Business and environmental groups fight over regulation

The Charlotte Observer reports on the differing views of regulation held by businesses and groups such as the N. C. Chamber and environmental groups such as the Sierra Club. Molly Diggins, director of the NC Sierra Club, is pictured and quoted as saying "We would be prohibited from looking out for North Carolina's best interests in deciding what we need in the way of environmental protection," under proposals to prevent new state environmental regulations.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Energy in the news

Energy in the news
The News & Observer had two stories of interest about energy.
It reported that Progress Energy, as early as June, will mail notices to customers whose household power bills are above average when compared to their neighbors.
In an editorial, the News & Observer discussed the amount of energy, and the fact that it comes from the burning of coal, used by Google, Facebook, and Apple in data centers located in Catawba and nearby counties.
Legislature flooded with energy bills - many bad
A report in the UNC-CH Daily Tarheel the NC General Assembly has received many bills relating to energy. Most were for job creation through the energy sector rather than environmental regulations. Molly Diggins, state director of the NC Sierra Club was quoted in the story.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A bad new law - limitating regulations

The NC General Assembly recently passed a bill, signed into law by the Governor, that will prevent any new environmental, health and safety, and other regulation from being adopted if the regulation will cost those regulated more than $500,000.

In determining the cost, no credit is given for savings to members of the public that results from the regulation. So, if a regulation is proposed that would cost sightly over $500, 000 but would save more than that in health costs, the regulation would be blocked by this law.

The law "sunsets", that is, expires on July 1, 2012.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bill to stop new regulations progressing

SB 22, APA Rules: Increasing Cost Prohibition will prohibit the adoption any administrative rule, including rules made by the Environmental Management Commission, that would involve any cost, except for certain rules required by law. The bill was passed by the Senate Agriculture, Environment, Natural Resources committee on Tuesday, 2/8. On the Senate floor Wednesday 2/9 the bill passed the second and third readings. Sen. Bob Atwood (Dem. Orange) introduced an amendment to end the prohibition on January 1, 2013.
The only vote against the bill was from Sen. Eleanor Kinnaird (Dem. Orange). The bill now goes to the House.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Senate bill will stop regulations

Many environmental regulations that help to protect our water and air are adopted by agencies of the executive branch of the state, such as the Environmental Management Commission. The EMC was the agency that wrote and adopted the complex set of rules designed to protect the Jordan and the Falls Lake reservoirs.

Under a Senate Bill, SB 22, no agency would be able to adopt a regulation that has any cost to the regulated party. Since all rules have some cost, such as the cost of sending out a memo to employees or making a photo copy of the rule, that law would apply to almost every regulation. There are a few exceptions, such as when Congress, the courts, or the General Assembly require that a rule be adopted.

The bill was adopted by the Senate Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources committee today (Tuesday, 2/8/11) and will face its first of two votes in the Senate tomorrow (Wednesday, 2/9/11). It should be noted that the same bill passed the Democrat controlled Senate during the last session but failed to pass the House.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Legislature now in session with new leadership

The North Carolina General Assembly is now in session with new leadership. For the first time in over 100 years the Republicans control both houses. While some Republicans are very friendly to the environment, many are more friendly to business interest. (Some Democrats also put the desires of businesses ahead of the environment and even public health and safety) We will soon see what effect this change has on the prospects for environmental legislation. Conserve NC will be reporting from the General Assembly on environmental, or perhaps anti-environmental, legislation.