Over the last year, environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps like the one that ruptured last week, spewing enough toxic sludge into a North Carolina river to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools. / Each time, they say, their efforts have been stymied – by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. / The state agency has blocked the citizen lawsuits by intervening at the last minute to assert its own authority under the federal act to take enforcement action. After negotiating with Duke, the state proposed settlements where the nation’s largest electricity provider pays modest fines but is under no requirement to actually clean up its coal ash ponds.
Photo Caption: An image provided by an environmental group shows a portable pump siphoning water from a coal ash pond owned by Duke Energy into a discharge canal leading to the Cape Fear River near Moncure, N.C. State regulators are investigating the action. Credit Rick Dove/Waterkeeper Alliance
Duke Energy, the giant utility whose spill of toxic waste into a North Carolina river last month is under federal investigation, released wastewater last week from a second site near Raleigh that state regulators said could be illegal.
Aerial photographs of two Duke coal ash ponds at the head of the Cape Fear River show portable pumps and hoses that appear to be siphoning water into a canal leading to the river.
If you think a small shareholder can’t get the attention of the multibillion-dollar palm oil industry, think again. Lucia von Reusner lives half a world away from the palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia that have become notorious for environmental, labor and human rights abuses.
North Carolina regulators’ penchant for seemingly protecting Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) former employers from repeated lawsuits over their environmental practices was only stopped following a devastatingly toxic spill, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow reported on Monday.
The Environmental Protection Agency held listening sessions Thursday to hear from the public about a forthcoming rule about carbon emissions from existing power plants. More than 20 faith leaders spoke on behalf of those Jesus called “the least of these.
Pandas Prove Adorable Diplomacy is Possible
Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution, explains why pandas are among the 101 objects that have shaped America’s history. (2:27)
In a rare display of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, a group of key senators unveiled legislation Wednesday that would require chemical companies to provide more health and safety information about their products and give regulators more power to force harmful compounds off the market.
The amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and sea level…
(I wish enough Americans cared enough about this)…
Earth Day, oddly, has never been a huge deal for me. I’m just a little too young to really remember its remarkable debut in 1970, when one American in 10 went out in the streets to demand action on clean air and water. That unprecedented activism laid the groundwork for the swift passage of legislation, and the almost-as-swift rehabilitation of lakes and rivers. But in the years after, many Earth Day celebrations drifted in a slightly more corporate direction; there wasn’t anything wrong with them, but they didn’t seem to be helping arrest environmentalism’s slide into relative impotence.
Continue reading (http://grist.org/climate-energy/a-tale-of-two-earth-day-heroes/)