In the News

Editorial about fracking and drilling
The News & Observer ran an editorial about the rush to allow fracking and off shore drilling in the NC legislature.

Draft fracking bill reported by committee
As reported by the News & Observer, the state Legislative Research Commission’s Committee on Energy Policy Issues reported three bills that will be introduced in the "short session" of the General Assembly. The bills will change North Carolina law to allow fracking. The committee report can be found by clicking here.

Chapel Hill Town Council votes to oppose fracking
According to a report in chapelboro, The Chapel Hill Town Council voted 7-2 to oppose fracking. The report quoted Ed Harrison, Mayor Pro Tem of Chapel Hill and an active Sierra Club member.

Durham County: Wait until 2014
According to a Durham Herald-Sun story, the Durham County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to wait until the 2014 session before adopting any legislation that would allow fracking.

Developer selling houses while retaining mineral rights
[UPDATE] D.R. Horton to suspend mineral rights separation, according to report in Durham Herald-Sun.

In most of North Carolina the purchaser of land also purchases all mineral rights. A story in the Independent tells of a developer in Chatham county who has been selling houses but retaining the mineral rights. The News & Observer reports that the NC Department of Justice is asking the developer for more detailed information.

GOP gubernatorial candidate strong fracking supporter. News story suggests a reason
GOP candidate and former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory has been a strong supporter of fracking. According to a News & Observer report, it may be connected with McCoy's association with a client, the American Petroleum Council.

Editorial support for Clean Water Management Trust Fund
An editorial in the News & Observer supports restoration of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the ability of the fund to purchase land around water.

Cary-Chatham plan will allow more houses close to Jordan Reservoir
According to an article in the Cary News, the Cary/Chatham Joint Issues committee has increased the proposed allowable density of residential area near the Jordan Reservoir by five times, to one unit per acre.

"Last Patients to Leave Dix in August"
The Council of State voted to have 22 remaining forensic patients moved to the new hospital in Butner, and close the hospital in August of 2012. Governor Perdue directed the Department of Administration to look for new office space for the 1,300 state employees who also use the 306 acre campus, and expressed support for a park for all North Carolinians. As reported in the News & Observer article Governor Perdue explained “I think with the population projections of Raleigh and the Triangle ... that we North Carolinians who value open space and the environment ought to be excited about saving a tract of land that will remain magnificent for thousands of years after all of us are long gone.’’

Editorial supports Dix Park
An editorial in the News & Observer supports "park advocates, who’ve long pushed the idea of saving the land from development". "This is truly a once-in-lifetime opportunity to carve out an oasis for all future generations." according to the N&O. "A peaceful public park with a graceful view of the Capital City would be a fitting way to honor [Dorothea Dix] the advocate and the [Dorothea Dix Hospital] institution."

"Legislative Approval Proposed for Dix land use"
Rep. Nelson Dollar proposed a bill which would require legislative approval for the Council of State's determination for the Dix land. A News & Observer article stated "the law would complicate plans to put a park on the property."  Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane supports a park on the property and hopes "a deal can be struck this year" to create a park. She explained that the legislators with whom she has spoken are supportive of a park, and references the opportunity for the money from the sale of the land for park purposes to support the mentally ill.

Sierra Club, other environmental groups challenge Titan Cement's air quality permit
According to a story in the Wilmington Star-News and a report by Wilmington TV station WECT, the NC Sierra Club, NC Coastal Federation, Cape Fear River Watch, Pender Watch and Conservancy, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center. SELC's press release can be found here, and more information about the proposed plant can be found here.

Wake County's high ozone fails American Lung Association test
WRAL-TV reported that Wake County was given an "F" rating for ozone in a report published by the American Lung Association.

Two GOP legislators: go slow on fracking
Two GOP state House members appeared at a press conference and suggested that the state take the time to fully study the fracking issue before changing NC laws to allow fracking (current NC law does not allow it), according to a story in the News & Observer.

The Pilot of Southern Pines published at editorial praising the Republican representatives for there "more conservative" position--pointing out that the word "conservative" has the same root as the word "conservation", and that there was much to conserve in the Sand Hills area.

GOP gubernatorial candidate strong fracking supporter. News story suggests a reason
GOP candidate and former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory has been a strong supporter of fracking. According to a News & Observer report, it may be connected with McCroy's association with a client, the American Petroleum Council.

DENR held first fracking hearing in Sanford
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) held the first of two public hearings in Sanford on Tuesday, March 20. The Fayetteville Observer covered the hearing in a story. See events (above) for information about the second hearing on March 27 and filing written comments.

Gov. Perdue: "Fracking can be done safely…"
NC Gov. Bev Perdue took an industry led tour of fracking sites in Pennsylvania, and told WRAL-TV that "From what I saw fracking can be done safely if you regulate it and put fees in place to have inspectors on the ground." WRAL had previously aired a report from their trip to Pennsylvania to report on both sides of the fracking debate. The News & Observer also reported on her statement.

The News & Observer published an editorial about the trip (at taxpayer expense) and criticizing the lack of openness about the trip. In the Under the Dome blog, the News & Observer commented on a Rush Limbaugh radio commentabout Perdue's apparent support of fracking.

Tighter fracking regulations favored by 65% in poll
A Bloomberg News story reported that a poll showed that 65% of the public favored stricter regulation of fracking.

Solar farm planned for Chatham County
A story in the News & Observer reports that Strata Solar, NC's biggest solar developer, has proposed a 20MW solar farm in Chatham County that would be as large as any in the state. 

Nation's largest solar-thermal plant being built in NC
A News & Observer story reports that the nation's largest solar-thermal plant, which heats water rather than producing electricity, is now under construction at a turkey processing facility about 80 miles south east of Raleigh. The plant will heat water used to clean the plant and equipment. The solar facility is being built by FLS energy which also supplies solar heated water for the West Raleigh Hyatt and a number of area projects.

EPA announced a rule limiting CO2 from power plants
According to a story in the Washington Post, the EPA announced a proposed rule limiting the amount of CO2 per MWh that can be released from new power plants. The story reports that the limit, 1000 pounds per MWh, would eliminate any new coal fired plants but would allow natural gas plants. The rule can be found at the EPA site.

Report: significant drop in solar costs
Reuters news reported that the cost of solar power is dropping in NC. The story reported on a report by the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) which stated that the cost of solar photovoltaic (solar cell) power had dropped 36% from 2006 to 2011 to $5.44 per watt. The report predicts that solar power will be competitive with retail prices by 2020, without any subsidy or incentive. The NCSEA report can be downloaded here.

Solar farm planned for Johnston County
Argand Energy Solutions of Charlotte plans to build a 2 MW solar farm at the Johnston County Airport near Smithfield, according to a story in the Charlotte Business Journal. The project is expected to be completed this summer. Chatham Olive, of the Central Piedmont (Charlotte) group of the Sierra Club, is Commercial Business Development and Community Relations manager at Argant.

Titan slander suit settled in mediation
The Wrightsville Beach Lumina News reported that the suit brought by Titan Cement against two activist who spoke against the proposed Titan cement plant on the N.E. Cape Fear river.

Clean air dispute now in court
A dispute about NC environmental ammonia emissions regulations and federal clean water laws has gone to court, according to a story in the News & Observer. The dispute involves whether ammonia from a large chicken operation enters the water and violates the federal Clean Water Act. Jerry Eatman, a member of the Capital Group and a member of the Steering Committee of the NC Chapter of the Sierra Club, represents the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation and the Friends of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in the suit.

Gov. Perdue backs changes in NC Air Toxics program
A story in Business Week reported that Gov. Bev. Perdue is conditionally backing Republican led efforts to reduce the NC Air Toxics Program, exempting industries that are affected by any federal regulations. Environmental groups have opposed the changes that Gov. Perdue now supports.

Hunters part of environmental coalition
A guest column in the Waynesville Smoky Mountain News discussed the advantage to the environmental community offered by the hunters and other outdoor sportsmen and women, and how their organizations, combined with the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations, are working to protect wild and open area needed by wildlife.

Confusion over billboard law
A Charlotte Observer report discussed the confusion in the legislature about the billboard bill and the powers of local governments to regulate tree cutting in their jurisdictions.

Letter to the editor about global warming
The News & Observer published a letter from Marvin Woll of the Capital Group about global warming and action that needs to be taken..

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