Victory! Construction halted at Taiwan nuclear plant after protests

“Bomb train” carrying crude oil explodes in Lynchburg, Virginia

Our Power Together: May Day at Duke Energy Shareholder Meeting


Thursday, May 1st, 2014. 9am-12pm (park by 8:45am)
Duke Energy Corporate Office
526 S Church St. Charlotte.
www.facebook.com/events/672290476221413/

YES, there are buses from the Triangle and Triad. Register HERE to get on
the buses: tinyurl.com/lwbbd9r
And if you would benefit from the financial support, we will gladly help
you cover your mileage from other parts of the state. Contact Emma for
carpool reimbursement: emma.greenbaum (at) sierraclub.org

On February 2, 2014 one of Duke Energy's coal ash dumps burst, emptying
39,000 tons of toxic sludge into the Dan River, coating the riverbed for 70
miles downstream. The public was not notified for over 24 hours. For the
preceding year, Governor McCrory's administration blocked North Carolina
environmentalists from suing the corporation for its coal ash pollution.

For Duke Energy ratepayers, for NC taxpayers, for those of us who live near
NC's 50 toxic coal ash dumps (containing at least 16 billion gallons of
coal combustion waste, enough to cover 38,662 football fields one foot
deep), for families with children, for people of color, for people living
in poverty, for those of us who drink water or breathe air, it's time to
tell Duke Energy to come clean.

Meet at Duke Energy corporate headquarters in Charlotte on May 1, 2014 with
a broad alliance of visionary organizations from across the state. On the
occasion of the 2014 Duke Energy shareholder meeting, celebrate your May
Day with unity. We call for environmental, social, racial, labor and
economic justice; political transparency; clean energy; and a bright future
for all!

McCrory coal ash bill blasted as ‘step backward’

Posted: Apr 17, 2014 on http://www.wncn.com
 


 
RALEIGH, N.C. –

The office of Gov. Pat McCrory released a draft of his proposed legislation to regulate coal ash in North Carolina Thursday, but a top attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center said the proposal falls far short of protecting North Carolinians.

Frank Holleman, who is based in Chapel Hill with the SELC, called the bill “a step backward” overall.

McCrory, in a press release Wednesday, praised the legislation as a way to address concerns about the coal ash that has spilled into North Carolina waterways.

“Since taking office in January 2013, my administration has discovered a number of long-standing shortcomings in state law that hamper our ability to adequately protect public health and the environment in addition to dealing with emergencies when they happen,” McCrory said in a statement. “We need to close these loopholes and give our regulators the tools they need to solve this more than 60-year-old coal ash problem.”

McCrory said his plan would call for 19 new positions with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

McCrory did not address specifics of the plan with reporters at an event Wednesday morning, but his office later released a 16-page draft of the proposal. The proposal says the “issue of coal ash has not been adequately addressed in North Carolina for more than six decades.” It also calls on tighter reporting standards for when there are spills and lays out specifics for monitoring the coal ash.

 

 

“I know that the public and the General Assembly share our concerns about coal ash, and I ask them to work with me to make sure we tackle this problem head-on to address long-standing problems caused by the ash basins,” McCrory said.

Holleman of the SELC said the proposal was riddled with problems, essentially in that it asks citizens, and the General Assembly, to trust DENR and Duke Energy to take care of the coal ash problem.

“Unfortunately, the governor and DENR have not opted to take a strong approach to cleaning up coal ash and protecting North Carolina’s communities,” Holleman said in a telephone interview.

Asked for a response to Holleman’s comments, DENR spokesman Drew Elliott told WNCN, “Gov. McCrory’s proposal is a bold plan to accelerate the clean-up of these ponds, and it continues this administration’s record of being aggressive on environmental issues where previous leaders have done little or nothing.

“The draft legislation proposes a data-driven, site-specific approach to closing the state’s ash ponds, going further than any federal or state legislation in history.”

Holleman, however, was not as impressed. Holleman spelled out his concerns in a lengthy email to WNCN.

Those concerns included:

  • The proposal does not require Duke to clean up its coal ash pollution or move its ash to safe storage.
  • The proposal asks the legislature and the public to trust DENR and Duke Energy. The proposal leaves it to them to decide what happens with Duke’s coal ash. The public and the legislature have no reason to place this trust in two organizations that are responding to a federal criminal grand jury regarding their coal ash activities.
  • The proposal in large part comes directly from the proposed settlement consent order that was rejected by the public of North Carolina last summer and that even DENR was forced to withdraw from court consideration after public outrage and a criminal grand jury investigation. The proposal contains the settlement’s provisions dealing with both groundwater pollution and illegal leaks.
  • The proposal allows DENR and Duke that Duke can continue to spring leaks from its wastewater treatment coal ash facilities, dumping polluted coal ash lagoon water into rivers and drinking water reservoirs.
  • As to the Riverbend facility [in Gaston County], it does not even require Duke to move its coal ash from unlined old storage sites in addition to the lagoons, something that Duke Energy has already agreed to do.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

  • As to the four specifically mentioned sites, it allows Duke and DENR to agree to an undefined alternative instead of coal ash removal to safe, dry storage in a lined facility.

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North Dakota Finds Itself Unprepared to Handle the Radioactive Burden of Its Fracking Boom

by Rebecca Leber / Think Progress

AP Photo/Courtesy of the North Dakota Health Department, File

North Dakota recently discovered piles of garbage bags containing radioactive waste dumped by oil drillers in abandoned buildings. Now, the state is trying to catch up to an oil industry that produces an estimated 27 tons of radioactive debris from wells daily. Existing fines have apparently not been enough to deter contractors from dumping oil socks — coiled filters that strain wastewater and accumulate low levels of radiation.

“Before the Bakken oil boom we didn’t have any of these materials being generated,” the state’s Director of Waste Management Scott Radig told the Wall Street Journal. “So it wasn’t really an issue.”

The state is in the process of drafting rules, out in June, that require oil companies to properly store the waste in leak-proof containers. Eventually, they must move these oil socks to certified dumps. However, North Dakota has no facilities to process this level of radioactive waste. According to the Wall Street Journal, the closest facilities are hundreds of miles away in states like Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and Montana.

 

Even though it is illegal, contractors have taken the occasional shortcut to dump the oil socks in buildings, on the side of the road, or at landfills. And the rate of dumping incidents has been on the rise as drilling activity has increased in the Bakken shale region, according to one North Dakota Department of Health study. Dump operators now even routinely screen garbage for radiation.

If things don’t improve, oil drillers may risk turning parts of the state into EPA Superfund sites, which would mean a long and expensive clean-up.

North Dakota’s oil activity has delivered a string of bad news for the area that disrupts the rosy portrayal of the state’s economic growth. The oil boom has brought along with it more frequent oil and wastewater spills, skyrocketing rent and homelessness, as well as drug addiction and STDs.

Genetically Engineering Poplars for Paper and Biofuels Condemned

Apr 10, 2014 by Indigenous Environmental Network

Industry Hype & Misdirected Science Undercuts Real Energy/Climate Solutions

Genetically Engineering Poplars for Paper and Biofuels Condemned

 NO-GMO-POPLARWashington, DC–Scientists and environmentalists today condemned a recent press release by researchers at the University of British Columbia announcing they have created genetically engineered (GE) poplar trees for paper and biofuel production, opening the prospect of growing these GE trees like an agricultural crop in the future. [1] Continue reading

Court Date on May 13th for Protesters Arrested During Anti-Fracking Action in North Carolina, Funds Needed

 

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On May 13th, ten protesters arrested during an anti-fracking action in July of 2013 will be going to court to face charges for their resistance to fracking in NC.  The protest made dozens of local and national news stories and is still being covered in articles to this day (with the latest included in a photo gallery of worldwide actions).

Several folks are choosing to take pleas that will require them to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and court costs. Some people are considering taking their charges to trial, but to be able to consider that, the defendants must raise approximately $4,000 to pay for a lawyer to represent the group.  Please help by donating at the the link to the right, or at the Morganton 10 Legal Fund here.  Check back here to stay up to date on what you can do to support these folks.

This past summer hundreds of Earth First! protesters blockaded a Momentive chemical plant in Western North Carolina to protest fracking. Momentive is one of the largest worldwide distributors of “resin coated proppants,”  a necessary component for fracking. Each fracturing stage requires approximately 136 tonnes of proppants. People from North Carolina were joined by people from around the country who also oppose shale gas extraction nationwide in this action at the conclusion of the 2013 Earth First! Rendezvous.

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Call Out to Defend Redwood Grove on Ground Breaking Day for Jacobs Institute

 

 

EF fistby Save the Ridge Redwoods / IndyBay

UC Berkeley cut down the support foliage, including oaks, at the redwood grove behind Soda Hall. As well, the larger redwoods have been severely pruned and smaller redwoods have been removed entirely. Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm wants the lot for a $20,000,000 privatized tech design institute, named after himself. The UC and Paul Jacobs have been ignoring overwhelming public demand to save the trees. Furthermore, by cutting down a protected species, the design institute goes against its own founding principals, expressed by Paul Jacobs, that that project minimize any negative impact to the environment.

Wave of Action Protest – APRIL 12th, 10AM 

Ridge Road and Le Roy Avenue, Berkeley
Defend trees in Berkeley

1. INTRO

The ground breaking ceremony for the Paul Jacobs Design Institute is on Cal Day, April 12th at 10AM behind Soda Hall. Continue reading

2014 EF! Rendezvous in Cascadia this Summer

Reposted from 2014RRR.org

2014 Earth First! Rendezvous: Klamath Knot

 July 1st-7th 2014

To whom it may concern (biocentric activists, dissidents, dreamers, doers, rabble rousers, and trouble makers, etc.):

We are pleased to announce that this summer’s Annual Earth First! Round River Rendezvous will be held in Southern Cascadia (Western Oregon-California border region) from July 1st-7th. Save the date!

This is a critical time for our movement in the Pacific Northwest. To the North, coal and oil companies are trying to use the Columbia River– a major artery of our bioregion– to export fossil fuels abroad and ship gargantuan, earth-destroying machinery to the Alberta Tar sands. In the far reaches of Southern Cascadia, the road builders are clearing ancient oak trees and draining the wetlands of Little Lake Valley– all in the name of convenience. And, as always, from the Redwood Coast to the Cascade Mountains, chainsaws threaten to destroy the fragile biodiversity of our region’s forests.

Yet, in the spirit of Cascadia, we are fighting back: sitting in trees, blocking the roads, marching in the streets, howling in the offices and courtrooms, and standing in solidarity with our friends who are fighting for their indigenous lands. Come for the rondy week, stay for a Cascadian summer and plug into regional campaigns!

With respect for the enormous span of our region, the 2014 Round River Rendezvous will be hosted by a coalition of activists hailing from multiple hometowns and biocentric organizations. Our scouting team is still out and about, but we will most likely gather somewhere in the geological region known as “the Klamath Knot”. The Klamath Knot, which contains 11 wilderness areas and an amazing diversity of endemic plant species, is appropriately the meeting place of three major mountain ranges: the Southern Cascades, the Sierra Nevadas, and the Coast Range. It is also rumored that the wandering lone wolf “OR-7” is currently residing somewhere in the Klamath Mountains.

We will post more info come spring, directions by mid-June. If you’ve never been to a Rondy’ before, come expecting fireside song and story, hikes in the wilderness, workshops, group meals, friendship, and all kinds of rowdiness. Cascadia loves to party, and we can’t wait to host!

For the Wild and Rowdy,

The 2014 Round River Rendezvous Organizing Crew

rondyflier

Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas plan pipeline into NC

Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas are seeking proposals to build and operate a second major natural gas pipeline into North Carolina.

Duke has increasingly relied on gas as prices fell and coal-fired power plants shut down in the face of looming environmental standards. Piedmont’s customer growth last year was the highest since 2008 and continues to climb.

North Carolina is now served by Transco, a 10,200-mile pipeline owned by Williams Partners L.P. that sends Gulf of Mexico gas from south Texas to New York City. The line runs toward the Northeast in a diagonal route through Western North Carolina, including Mecklenburg County.

Massive new gas supplies are being developed in Pennsylvania and other northeastern states as the drilling technique called fracking taps shale-gas deposits.

Duke and Piedmont offer few details but say they have a “strong preference” for an interstate pipeline with a different route from the Transco line.

“Aside from knowing it’s going to end in North Carolina … the other terminus we won’t know until we get the proposals back,” said Piedmont spokesman David Trusty.

The companies’ solicitation to pipeline builders says they want expanded access to “competitive, secure, diverse and abundant supplies” with increased reliability for future gas deliveries.

It’s not clear who would own a new pipeline. The solicitation says Duke and Piedmont will consider a joint venture, ownership interest, strategic partnership or other financial arrangement.

“We’re leaving it wide open and evaluating a wide range of options,” said Duke spokesman Dave Scanzoni.

Edward Jones utilities analyst Andy Smith said Duke and Piedmont might prefer to own at least part of the new pipeline, allowing them to recover their investment through customer rates.

“It seems to make sense on the surface,” Smith said. “Duke has built a bunch of new gas-fired power plants, and they need supply. Piedmont has a growing customer base.”

Charlotte-based Piedmont owns a 24 percent stake in the new Constitution pipeline, now under construction, that will run from northern Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale drilling region to northeastern markets.

Florida Power & Light last year chose proposals by Spectra Energy and NextEra Energy to expand gas capacity in that state. A pipeline will run from southwestern Alabama to south Florida by 2017.

Duke and Piedmont want an initial pipeline capacity into North Carolina of up to 900 million cubic feet a day. Transco moves up to 9.8 billion cubic feet a day.

A proposal is expected to be selected by the end of 2014, with completion of the pipeline by late 2018.

The project would need approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates interstate natural gas pipelines, and Carolinas utilities commissions.

Duke has opened five natural gas-fired power plants in the state since 2011 and proposed another in South Carolina. Its latest planning forecast projects a continuing shift to gas, which burns more cleanly than coal.

Piedmont pipes gas to each of those plants, and last June completed a 128-mile line from Iredell County to Duke’s Sutton power plant in Wilmington.

Piedmont, which serves the Carolinas and Tennessee, added 14,200 customers in 2013. Customer growth for the first quarter of this year was 13 percent higher than in the same quarter of 2013.

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