EPA Clean Power Plan Background Information

Check out these Sierra Club resources on the EPA Clean Power Plan. Put this information to use tonight, Sept 9th!

Citizen’s Climate Hearing
September 9th
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Myers Park Baptist Church
Heaton Hall
1900 Queens Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207

Free Solar Tours preceding the hearing – 5:00 and 5:30 PM

Hearing Format
•    Please limit oral comments to 3 minutes (typically 400 – 450 words)
•    Please bring a copy of prepared comments for the court reporter (optional)
•    Written comments may be of any length and submitted without public speaking

New EPA rules on carbon will benefit economy

New EPA rules on carbon will benefit economy

Thanks to Joel Olsen, president at Cornelius-based O2energies Inc., for speaking out in the Charlotte Business Journal opinion – New EPA rules on carbon will benefit economy!

Won’t you stand with Joel and others from across the state and speak out tomorrow, September 9th, at the Charlotte Citizen’s Climate Hearing (see flyer below for more information)?

Citizen’s Climate Hearing
September 9th
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Myers Park Baptist Church
Heaton Hall
1900 Queens Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207

Free Solar Tours preceding the hearing – 5:00 and 5:30 PM

Hearing Format
•    Please limit oral comments to 3 minutes (typically 400 – 450 words)
•    Please bring a copy of prepared comments for the court reporter (optional)
•    Written comments may be of any length and submitted without public speaking

 

New EPA rules on carbon will benefit economy

VIEWPOINT – Sept 5, 2014
Joel Olsen

With the recent announcement of new federal rules to reduce carbon dioxide, market opportunities will open for clean energy, which is good news for North Carolina.

Our already booming solar industry ranks second in the nation for utility-scale capacity. Our state hosts more than 18,000 full-time jobs in the clean-energy sector.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s rules create an opportunity for renewable-energy and energy-efficiency businesses, as well as natural gas and nuclear, to play an increasingly important role in the transition to a low-carbon future.

The EPA rules also will help level the playing field both nationally and on the global stage where U.S. industry must compete.

Take our automobile industry as an example. When lax domestic regulations allowed automakers to produce cars with lower fuel efficiency in the U.S. market, they quickly found that those cars could not be sold in foreign markets with higher fuel-efficiency standards. Instead of boosting efficiency, the U.S. auto industry lost market share, jobs and investor confidence as it tried to protect itself from being held to the regulatory requirements of its global competitors.

The new rules set national standards to reduce emissions from the generation of electricity, the largest source of carbon in the country. These stricter requirements will promote innovation, investment and jobs in America for clean-energy business while reducing emissions that cause pollution and global warming.

For O2energies, a developer and owner of solar farms in the Southeast, the new rules provide a clear market signal to our investors, suppliers and contractors that they should invest in projects, manufacture products and add jobs.

Thanks again Joel!

 

Charlotte Citizens Climate Hearing

“Fracking boom prompts $5B Dominion gas pipeline”

See below for the following stories and information:

  • Fracking boom prompts $5B Dominion gas pipeline
  • Map of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline
  • Dominion Site website pipeline information link
  • Duke Energy website pipeline information link
  • NC News Coverage
    • 5 Public meetings – Sept 22,23,25
    • NC News Coverage
    • Second major gas pipeline to enter NC
    • Dominion Resources will build 550-mile natural gas pipeline into NC
    • McCrory praises eastern NC natural gas pipeline
    • McCrory: Proposed Gas Pipeline To Bring Economic Benefits To Region
  • VA News Coverage
    • Dominion Gas Pipeline:  Bad news and a call to action!
    • McAuliffe boosts gas pipeline but environmental groups dissent
    • Controversial natural gas pipeline through Virginia draws governor’s backing, fracking opponents’ ire
    • New Natural Gas Pipeline Would Run Through The George Washington National Forest
    • VA Sierra Club Newsletter Summer 2014

 

This lead story sums up what we’re facing. Below you’ll find a pipeline map, information from the Dominion and Duke Energy websites, links to recent news articles, and dates and times for the 5 public meetings to be held in eastern North Carolina this month. Stay tuned, more information to follow.


Fracking boom prompts $5B Dominion gas pipeline

Spurred by the nation’s fracking boom, Dominion proposed Tuesday its largest natural gas pipeline — a nearly $5 billion project to move vast supplies produced in the mid-Atlantic to the Southeast.
“This will be one of the largest pipelines to take advantage of the abundant supply of natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania,” says Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle.
Santa (Donald Santa, president and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, an industry group) says he doesn’t expect the pipeline to engender the same controversy that has held up approval of the northern leg of the Keystone pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Canada to the upper Midwest.
“It’s a different situation,” he says, noting the Dominion-led project does not cross a national border so it does not need an environmental review and permit from the U.S. State Department. He says FERC has a good track record of authorizing gas pipelines, and there’s public demand for natural gas deliveries.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/02/fracking-5b-dominion-gas-pipeline/14962483/

Atlantic Coast Pipeline

atlantic-coast-pipeline-map

Dominion Site
https://www.dom.com/business/gas-transmission/atlantic-coast-pipeline/index.jsp

Duke Site
Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas select Dominion to build
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will meet those objectives by roughly paralleling
the underscored the national need for more natural gas pipelines

[PDF] Barclays Capital CEO Energy-Power Conference September
Page 5. Atlantic Coast Pipeline to benefit customers and regional economies –
On Sept. and operate the Atlantic Coast Pipeline – Project Overview:

NC News

Public meetings

Additional details about Atlantic Coast Pipeline can be found at https://www.dom.com/business/gas-transmission/atlantic-coast-pipeline/index.jsp. The company also will hold a series of town-hall style informational meetings with North Carolina residents who live near the proposed pipeline route. The meetings start at 5 p.m. for landowners in the study corridor and at 6:30 for the general public.

Sept. 22

• UNC Pembroke, COMTech Regional Center, Pembroke

• Rose Hill Plantation, Nashville

Sept. 23

• Holiday Inn Fayetteville I-95 South, Fayetteville

• The Centre at Halifax Community College, Weldon

Sept. 25

•  Johnston County Agricultural Center, Smithfield

Second major gas pipeline to enter NC
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/09/02/5144589/dominion-to-build-and-operate.html

Dominion Resources will build 550-mile natural gas pipeline into NC
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/09/02/4115878_duke-energy-and-partners-to-build.html

McCrory praises eastern NC natural gas pipeline
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/09/02/4116988/mccrory-praises-eastern-nc-natural.html

McCrory: Proposed Gas Pipeline To Bring Economic Benefits To Region
http://www.wilmingtonbiz.com/more_news/2014/09/02/mccrory_proposed_gas_pipeline_to_bring_economic_benefits_to_region/12263

VA News
Dominion Gas Pipeline:  Bad news and a call to action!
http://www.friendsofshenandoahmountain.org/news

McAuliffe boosts gas pipeline but environmental groups dissent
http://fairfaxnews.com/2014/09/mcauliffe-boosts-gas-pipeline-environmental-groups-dissent/

Controversial natural gas pipeline through Virginia draws governor’s backing, fracking opponents’ ire
http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/09/controversial-natural-gas-pipeline-through-virginia-draws-governor-s-backing-fracking-opponents-ire-.html

New Natural Gas Pipeline Would Run Through The George Washington National Forest
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/02/3478041/atlantic-coast-pipeline/

VA Sierra Club Newsletter Summer 2014

VA Pipeline

The Boss Calls Us To “Get Out On The Street” in NYC

New York City!

New York City!

New York City!

Click below, turn up the volume, get psyched, and then Sign Up Now to join a quarter million folks as we March for Climate Change!

LIVE-in-NYC-crop_13418-x8-46_1

When I’m out in the street, girl
Well, I never feel alone
When I’m out in the street, girl
In the crowd I feel at home
The black and whites they cruise by
And they watch us from the corner of their eye

But there ain’t no doubt, girl, down here
We ain’t gonna take what they’re handing out
When I’m out in the street
I walk the way I wanna walk
When I’m out in the street
I talk the way I wanna talk
Baby, out in the street I don’t feel sad or blue
Baby, out in the street I’ll be waiting for you

When your grandchildren ask you, “What did you do in the 2014 Climate Crisis?” You’ll be able to smile and say, “I was there. I was out in the street…..

Sign Up Now!

New York City!

2nd Charlotte Bus to New York City – Limited Seats, Sign Up Today!

I’m pleased to announce that we have secured funding for a second bus from Charlotte to New York City for the Sept 21 People’s Climate March!!!!! This brings the number of confirmed PCM North Carolina buses to 7!

There are a limited numbers of seats and we expect the bus to fill up fast. Reserve your seat at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/charlotte-bus-to-nyc-peoples-climate-march-2nd-bus-tickets-12941459253.

 

Charlotte to New York City for the People’s Climate March – 2nd Bus

Tentative Timetable
Exact times and locations are being finalized and will be announced shortly.

Saturday, Sept 20 – Location TBD. Sign in at 7:30 PM. Bus pulls out at 8:00 PM sharp!

Sunday, Sept 21 – Stop along New Jersey Turnpike for breakfast. Drop off in NYC at 9:00 AM.
Participate in March (11:30 – 3:30, approximate times). Pick up in same location (Time TBD).

Monday, Sept 22 – Arrive Charlotte approximately 4:00 AM (same location)

Cost (Round trip)
General ticket – $25 + $2.37 Eventbrite fee

Register Today – Only 55 total seats available!
Please register by Monday, Sept 8th, to assure your seat!

Yes!, I want to Get On The Bus

For more information contact: Bill Gupton at wmgupton@aol.com

2nd Charlotte Bus Flyer2nd Bus PCM Charlotte to NYC

Charlotte Energy Strategy Meeting – Sept 4, 12:00 PM

The City of Charlotte Economic Development  & Global Competitiveness Committee will meet Thursday, September 4, 2014 at Noon in Room CH-14 of the Government Center to discuss our future “Energy Strategy”. While you cannot speak during the City committee meetings, you might just catch them before or after the meeting and share your thoughts and concerns about our energy future. Attending committee meetings demonstrates your interest in and concern about agenda issues.

It’s interesting that the City is discussing our Energy Strategy when we don’t even have a Sustainability Plan! Check out some the resources below to see what other cities are doing in this area. Feel free to send the committee members these links along with your thought on our Charlotte Energy Future!

Charlotte Economic Development and Global Competitiveness Committee Members

 

Char Eco Dev Comm Mtg Sept 4 20142014

List of Top 20 Most Populous Cities in the U.S., and Corresponding Sustainability Plans

This list includes information and links to sustainability plans and initiatives created by large cities in the U.S. – http://sustainablecities.asu.edu/docs/scn/top-cities.pdf

Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series

The Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series gives a straightforward overview of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction strategies that local governments can use to achieve economic, environmental, social, and human health benefits. The series covers energy efficiency, transportation, community planning and design, solid waste and materials management, and renewable energy.

http://epa.gov/statelocalclimate/resources/strategy-guides.html

Sustainability Plan / Energy, Climate Change and Ozone Depletion / Strategy

Goal 1 – To reduce overall power use through maximizing energy efficiency. http://www.sustainable-city.org/Plan/Energy/strategy.htm#GOAL1

Goal 2 – To maintain an energy supply based on renewable, environmentally sound resources. http://www.sustainable-city.org/Plan/Energy/strategy.htm#GOAL2

Goal 3 – Eliminate climate-changing and ozone-depleting emissions and toxics associated with energy production and use. http://www.sustainable-city.org/Plan/Energy/strategy.htm#GOAL3

Goal 4 – To base energy decisions on the goal of creating a sustainable society. http://www.sustainable-city.org/Plan/Energy/strategy.htm#GOAL4

Resolution Adopting a Sustainable Energy Strategy – Las Vegas 2008

http://sustainablecities.asu.edu/docs/SCN/1-25-12/JeffDix_Resolution_LasVegas.pdf

 

Review: Major environmental and coal ash bills from the 2014 short session

Thanks to the NC Conservation Network for this excellent summary of the major environmental and coal ash bills from the 2014 short session!

NC Conservation Network Legislative Update

Short Session Wrap

After a very long three months, the NC General Assembly wrapped up the 2014 Short Session in August. The legislature adjourned sine die, meaning that it will not be returning in November to work on Medicaid legislation as it had earlier planned.

The short session was marked by three significant pieces of environmental legislation: fracking, regulatory reform and coal ash.

SL 2014-4 (S786 Energy Modernization Act)

This year’s fracking legislation was most notable for breaking the legislature’s 2012 promise to review the final rules developed by the Mining and Energy Commission before lifting the state’s fracking moratorium. Instead, the Energy Modernization Act will automatically allow DENR and the MEC to begin issuing permits beginning on the 61st calendar day following the date that all rules become effective.

The Energy Modernization Act also:

  • Weakens protections for groundwater wells by reducing the area of presumptive liability for contamination
  • Preempts local ordinances that prohibit oil and gas exploration, development and production activities
  • Reduces the amount of time available to the legislature to review the package of fracking rules developed by the MEC
  • Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to improperly disclose trade secret information related to hydraulic fracturing fluids

S734 (Regulatory Reform Act of 2014)

Following an annual trend, this session saw the passage of yet another regulatory overhaul with key environmental provisions. The final version of the Regulatory Reform Act represented only a portion of the provisions that were introduced at the beginning of the session, but the provisions that remain will result in significant environmental rollbacks.

Most notably, the Regulatory Reform Act:

  • Prohibits the Coastal Resources Commission from establishing or maintaining inlet hazard areas with certain characteristics
  • Weakens regulatory protections for isolated wetlands
  • Exempts development activities on certain properties from coastal stormwater rules
  • Provides that a CAMA permit contested by a third party will not be automatically suspended pending the contested case
  • Automatically subjects all state regulations stronger than federal minimum standards to legislative review

Provisions that were present in earlier iterations of regulatory reform legislation but were not included in the Regulatory Reform Act include:

  • Restrictions on third party challenges to air quality permits
  • Special privilege and immunity provisions for entities that conduct self audits and voluntarily disclose environmental violations
  • A requirement that DENR remove all ambient air monitors not required by federal law

S729 (Coal Ash Management Act of 2014)

After a significant period of debate and internal negotiations, the legislature passed a final coal ash bill on the last day of the short session. Governor McCrory has voiced concerns over the constitutionality of the Coal Ash Management Commission, a key piece of the legislation, but he is expected to sign the bill into law shortly.

The Coal Ash Management Act creates a complex framework that addresses existing coal ash sites on a tiered priority scale. Several key provisions include:

  • A prohibition on local ordinances that regulate or have the effect of regulating coal ash
  • Language aimed at undermining a recent court ruling requiring Duke Energy to immediately eliminate the source of groundwater contamination at its coal ash facilities
  • The establishment a new Coal Ash Management Commission to be located within the Department of Public Safety
  • Closure standards for low, intermediate and high risk impoundments, with the impoundments at the Sutton, Asheville, Dan River and Riverbend facilities automatically categorized as high risk
  • Deadlines for phasing out the wet handling of coal ash
  • Requirements for structural fill projects over a specified size
  • Regulation of coal ash as a solid waste
  • Dam safety requirements
  • The creation of 30 positions within DENR and the Department of Public Safety for coal ash management
  • The establishment of a new regulatory fee to pay for the costs of DENR oversight and the Coal Ash Management Commission

In addition to the legislation described above, several additional environmental bills made their way to the Governor’s desk this session.
SL 2014-95 (S883 – Mitigation Buffer Rule/Wastewater Treatment)

  • Disapproves recently adopted riparian buffer rules and instead directs the EMC to adopt rules resulting from a limited stakeholder process

SL 2014-103 (H366 – NC Farm Act of 2014)

  • Provides that complaints of violations against agricultural operations will be confidential until DENR determines that a violation has occurred
  • Restricts the local regulation of fertilizer
  • Classifies trespassing in an agricultural facility as a first degree trespass punishable as a Class A1 misdemeanor or Class H felony
  • Exempts drainage districts from riparian buffer rules

A full summary of the bills that passed during the 2014 short session is available here. Next year’s long session will begin with a clean slate of bills and likely a number of new legislators following the November elections.

The Legislative Update will return in January for the 2015 long session – enjoy the break!

Coal Ash

This year’s lengthy coal ash debate began shortly after the Dan River spill in February, which by Duke Energy’s estimates released up to 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River. Following the spill, the Environmental Review Commission began to study the issue, and the General Assembly ran through several versions of potential coal ash legislation. Governor McCrory joined the fray by releasing his own proposal, and several bills were introduced by both the House and the Senate:

H1226 (Coal Ash Management Act of 2014)

Primary sponsors: Representatives Harrison, Fisher, Glazier and Luebke
H1228 (Governor’s Coal Ash Action Plan)

Primary sponsors: Representatives McGrady, Samuelson and Hager

S856 (Coal Ash Management Act of 2014)

Primary sponsor: Senator Woodard

S729 (Coal Ash Management Act of 2014)

Primary sponsors: Senators Apodaca and Berger

Ultimately, S729 moved forward and passed out of the Senate in June. In July, the House passed a version of the bill that while very similar to the Senate version, added several significant new elements:

  • A variance procedure that would allow for extended closure deadlines
  • Language aimed at undermining a recent court ruling requiring Duke Energy to immediately eliminate the source of groundwater contamination at its coal ash facilities
  • Placement of the Coal Ash Management Commission within DENR

The Senate failed to concur with the House version of the bill due in large part to the addition of the variance provision and the relocation of the Coal Ash Management Commission, and a conference committee was appointed and tasked with coming to an agreement over the final version of the bill. The conference committee was comprised of: Senators Berger, Apodaca and Wade; and Representatives McGrady, Hager, Samuelson and Glazier. Representative Moffitt was also added to the conference committee during final negotiations.

After fewer than two weeks of negotiations, the conference committee was unable to come to an agreement and negotiations reportedly broke down over standards for low risk impoundments. At first it was announced that the legislature would take a hiatus on coal ash and possibly return to the issue in November. Instead, the conference committee returned to its negotiations in mid-August and quickly produced a conference report that had the support of all conferees.

The final conference report bridged some of the conflict between the House and Senate by placing limitations on the variance provision and adding language that would only allow DENR to approve capping in place for a low risk impoundment if the closure plan includes “design measures to prevent, upon the plan’s full implementation, post-closure exceedances of groundwater quality standards beyond the compliance boundary.” It also placed the Coal Ash Management Commission within the Department of Public Safety, satisfying the Senate’s concerns over its placement within DENR.

Fewer than 24 hours after releasing the conference report, both the House and Senate voted to approve it, sending it to the Governor’s desk and adjourning sine die to end the short session.

The final vote on the House floor received a considerable amount of debate, with a number of House Democrats voicing their concerns over various pieces of the bill. The majority of the debate focused on the bill’s failure to ensure that ratepayers would not be responsible for covering the costs of Duke Energy’s cleanup.

Representatives Alexander, Harrison, Martin, Insko, Luebke and Baskerville spoke against the bill, articulating concerns related to cleanup costs, ongoing groundwater contamination and the attempted undermining of a Superior Court ruling mandating immediate cleanup. Representative Harrison summarized her thoughts by thanking the conferees for their hard work, but stating that she wished the bill was stronger, particularly with respect to cleanup costs and the undermining of the Superior Court ruling.

Meanwhile, Representatives McGrady, Queen and Catlin spoke in favor of the bill as an important first step in managing coal ash. Following the debate, the conference report was approved by the House with a vote of 84-13.

The same evening, the Senate approved the conference report with very little discussion and a vote of 38-2. Senators Foushee and Van Duyn voted against the conference report, joining 13 of their colleagues in the House.

Governor McCrory has not yet signed the Coal Ash Management Act into law, but is expected to do so despite his concerns over the constitutionality of appointments to the Coal Ash Management Commission.

The final version of the bill is detailed in the 2014 summary of legislation here.