Air Pollution

The NC GOP's assault on environmental regulations continues

Stripping away NC's Air Toxics program:

The state Environmental Management Commission recently approved changes to North Carolina’s rules for controlling toxic air pollution, in an effort to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens and improve government efficiency while maintaining protections for public health.

The legislatively mandated rule changes would exempt most facilities from state air toxics rules if they comply with federal rules for controlling hazardous air pollutants, unless the DAQ director determines that their emissions pose unacceptable health risks. The changes developed by DAQ alter some of the minimum requirements for facilities needing toxics evaluations and would exempt certain natural gas/propane combustion sources and emergency generators from the state rules.

For all you grassroots Democrats and establishment Dems out there arguing about who is using what rooms in Goodwin House, the secret weapon for winning elections in November is right here in front of your faces. Republicans have endangered the health of North Carolinians for a couple of years now, and the evidence is overwhelming. GOTV begins yesterday.

Solar vs NIMBY: a foolish conflict

Not unlike the old fear of taking a bath:

Several hundred residents plan to pack a public hearing Monday to voice their objections to a proposed 36-acre solar farm near affluent subdivisions in eastern Lincoln County at Lake Norman.

Homes worth a total of $400 million surround the site, opponent George Arena, a former Lincoln County commissioner, has said. Soybeans are now grown on the 36-acre site where Strata Solar hopes to build the farm. Webbs Road leads to pricey Sailview, the lake community where Arena lives, and to Governor’s Island, one of the lake’s most exclusive developments.

The irony of this opposition is: Lake Norman was not created as a recreational spot, it was formed to (among other things) provide water for the Marshall Steam Station, a coal-burning power plant which has caused at least 130 deaths and over a billion dollars in health care costs, due to particulate air pollution. And the pricey Sailview community gets more than just a whiff of that pollution. But setting aside the toxic and noxious elements of this story, there are some interesting private property issues you won't find unless you go hyperlocal:

Public hearing on Titan Cement's air quality permit

The five-year battle continues:

Monday’s hearing—to be held at 6 p.m. at Kenan Auditorium, on the campus of UNCW—will decide whether Titan is awarded an extension to meet revised guidelines that dictate how emissions from such plants are monitored. According to a notice of the hearing, which is being conducted by the N.C. Division of Air Quality, those revisions would allow Titan to increase the plant’s annual emissions of fine particles by 22 tons per year and coarse particles by 10 tons per year.

While this article does give a nod to the StopTitan network, the bulk of the piece appears to be an interview with Bob Odom. As such, there is no mention of the SLAPP suits that were filed against a couple of concerned citizens, making these statements disingenuous at best:

American factory raises stink in Europe

And that is not a play on words:

The leak occurred on Monday morning at a Lubrizol France plant near Rouen, 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Paris, and winds blew the invisible gas cloud south over northern France on Monday night and then up into England on Tuesday. Ohio-based Lubrizol, founded in 1928 and part of U.S. conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc since 2011, has production facilities in some 19 countries.

Good ol' American ingenuity, bringing an enhanced quality of life to peoples around the globe...

NC GOP begins systematic dismantling of NC's air toxics program

What a wise man builds, an ignorant man can tear down:

The North Carolina legislature this year exempted pollution sources from state oversight if they are also covered by federal rules and don’t pose an “unacceptable risk” to human health. Among the recommendations are setting looser screening thresholds for facilities that release pollutants directly upward, a change that would apply to about one-third of all facilities.

Because if it goes directly upwards, it can't hurt us, right? Fucking idiots. More philosophy: A civilization guided by those who are most lacking in wisdom is doomed to failure.

Toxic legislation alert: HB952 State Air Toxics Program Reforms

Definitely not what the doctor ordered:

At the request of large industrial polluters and under the label of “regulatory reform,” North Carolina legislators have fashioned a bill, House Bill 952, that will undercut the state air toxics program and weaken its protection of the health and well-being of all North Carolinians. To protect families and children from toxic chemicals in the air we breathe, representatives should defeat this ill-advised legislation.

If the puppets over at Civitas had an ounce of credibility, this piece of toxic crap legislation would top their "bad bill of the week" chart. But instead, they whine about funding for PBS. Here's the bill:

I need your help to stop fracking in North Carolina

Thank you so much for the your wonderful support and comments on my story about trying to stop the runaway fracking train in North Carolina. The need for clear evidence-based comments is urgent because the east coast Triassic Basins could be the most dangerous shale-gas plays in the America. These shallow ancient lakebed shale gas deposits, located near several North Carolina's most important rivers for water supply, are riddled with near vertical faults and basaltic (diabase) dikes. These vertical geologic structures and the shallow depth make the potential for accidental vertical transport of gas and drilling fluids much higher in these basins than for deep shale deposits like the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and New York.

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