Republican attack on the environment

Modified permit for Enviva exposes the sheer volume of NC trees that will be lost

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Clear-cutting our forests to service a boondoggle in Europe:

Enviva Pellets Hamlet, LLC and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Division of Air Quality (DAQ) on Monday reached a settlement with Clean Air Carolina (CAC) in which the wood pellet processing company agreed to a new round of measures to control emissions and to submit semi-annual output reports to CAC for review.

In January, Enviva modified its permit with the DAQ to allow it to increase its production of wood pellets from 537,625 oven-dried tons per year to 625,011 and to be reclassified as a minor source of pollution in exchange for adding new emission controls.

Bolding mine, because this method of calculation actually downplays the volume of trees this industry is consuming. In order to arrive at that "oven-dried" weight, several times that amount of green/wet wood is required. Enviva is clear-cutting some 50 acres of North Carolina forests every single day. Here's more from the Rachel Carlson Council:

Coal Ash Wednesday: A history of chronic spillage at Sutton Lake

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As usual, sedimentary deposits tell the tale:

"Our results clearly indicate the presence of coal ash at the bottom of Sutton Lake and suggest there have been multiple coal ash spills into the lake from adjacent coal ash storage facilities after, and even before, floodwaters from Hurricane Florence caused major flooding in 2018," said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, who led the research.

According to Vengosh and his colleagues from Duke and Appalachian State University, the amount of contaminants was more than what was found in streams following major coal ash spills in Kingston, Tennessee in 2008 and the Dan River in North Carolina in 2014.

Of course Duke Energy is spouting denials and rationalizations left and right, but Avner knows his stuff. This isn't an environmental advocacy org speaking, it's pure science:

Senate Budget stops DEQ from implementing hog waste permit changes

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Putting the health and welfare of NC citizens at riisk:

The Senate bill, which was released Tuesday, includes significant differences in funding for environmental programs and Department of Environmental Quality spending plus a number of policy proposals not in either previous plan.

Among the top differences is spending on research and testing on emerging contaminants, upgrades and additions to DEQ’s main laboratories and several new special provisions, including a review of the recent process for adopting new general permit requirements for animal waste management systems that would delay for a year the implementation of tighter controls for swine, poultry and cattle operations.

Apparently in the minds of Republicans, elections don't have consequences. They are following the recommendations of the former DEQ Secretary (van der Vaart), who is now a John Locke Fellow (whatever the hell that means), instead of the current DEQ Secretary Michael Regan:

New report highlights the economic benefits of clean energy

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And rural areas are getting a large slice of that pie:

A new report shows the economic impact of more than a decade of clean energy investment in the state. The study from the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association finds clean energy development projects generated more than $28.2 billion dollars statewide since 2007.

Clean energy projects can be a boon to rural, low-income counties. The report finds rural Eastern counties have benefitted the most. Duplin and Robeson counties lead the state with more than $650 million dollars of clean energy investment apiece.

In place of my normal long-winded spiel, I'll quote myself from almost four years ago:

Say it ain't so, Joe: Biden's inclusion of Nat Gas in energy platform under fire

Dipping his toes into tainted waters:

The hair-trigger criticism of Biden's climate plan, which has yet to be released, underscores the tension emerging between the left and centrist wings of the Democratic Party over the climate issue.

The report, from Reuters, said Biden will seek to rejoin the Paris climate accord and reinstall emissions-reducing regulations that President Trump is trying to throw out. But Biden would also, according to the report, be “supportive of nuclear energy and fossil fuel options like natural gas and carbon capture technology" in an effort to buffer negative impact on working-class folks.

Dog save us from politicians who don't pay attention to what's going on around them. Natural gas doesn't just appear magically, it's fracked out of the ground, contaminating millions of gallons of drinking water in the process. And during the transportation of gas from the well site to the power plant, fugitive emissions of methane contribute greatly to the atmospheric greenhouse effect. As far as carbon capture is concerned, that might as well be a unicorn itself. The amount of money it would take to develop the technology, not just for capture but also for sequestration, would be much better spent on genuine renewables. Also, I'm not sure Biden understands how this message will be digested:

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