The Lumber River

Newsline special report: A community inundated with industrial waste

BY: - May 27, 2023

[Editor’s note: This story on water pollution is among several that NC Newsline is publishing about environmental justice issues and cumulative pollution impacts in Robeson County. Read previous stories in the series about biogas projects near Paxton and a proposed private military training site a few miles from Rowland. Look for more stories about air […]

Judge tosses historic fine against Bottomley Properties because wrong DEQ employee signed the paperwork

BY: - May 26, 2023

A judge tossed a $263,000 civil penalty assessed to Bottomley Properties for procedural reasons, finding that the Department of Environmental Quality employee who signed the paperwork was not authorized to do so. Administrative Law Judge John Evans, himself a former DEQ chief deputy secretary in the McCrory administration, issued his decision earlier this month. In […]


U.S. Supreme Court rejects Biden wetlands regulation, ruling for Idaho couple

BY: - May 25, 2023

This story has been updated. The U.S. Supreme Court in a major environmental decision on  Thursday overturned the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of wetlands that fall under the agency’s jurisdiction, siding with an Idaho couple who’d said they should not be required to obtain federal permits to build on their property that lacked any navigable […]

In the hot seat: Development, climate leads to increased risk of wildfires near NC cities and suburbs

BY: - May 24, 2023

More than 2.1 million homes in North Carolina lie within the “wildland urban interface” — populated areas on the fringe of forests, scrub and other vegetation — and are at a greater risk of wildfires because of development patterns and climate change, according to a new national report by Climate Central, a science-based nonprofit organization. […]

people at a water park

With summer coming fast, regulator issues electric reliability warning

BY: - May 22, 2023

As much as two thirds of North America could face shortages of electricity this summer in the event of severe and protracted heat, according to the regulator in charge of setting and enforcing standards for the electric grid.  “Increased, rapid deployment of wind, solar and batteries have made a positive impact,” said Mark Olson, manager […]

a bomb laying in a field

Bombs in a swamp: Robeson County residents battling proposal for private military training site

BY: - May 19, 2023

Bombs in a swamp.  A fraught piece of land ensnared in a family drama. Separately, the issues stir enough conflict to employ a dozen lawyers. Together, they could contaminate groundwater, creeks, rivers and ultimately drinking water supplies for an untold number of residents in southern Robeson County — and potentially South Carolina. Alottabang, LLC, wants […]

Photo of protesters known as the Raging Grannies. They are dressed in colorful hats and aprons with protest buttons. They are demonstrating against Enviva's wood pellet industry.

Demonstrators gather outside Enviva’s Raleigh office to protest wood pellet industry

BY: - May 18, 2023

Crowned with colorful hats, their aprons studded with protest buttons, a half dozen members of the Raging Grannies charmed their way past security — “we’re just going to our cars” — and took an elevator to Suite 1020 of the Bank of America building in midtown Raleigh. They assembled outside the glass doors of the […]

DEQ again draws short straw in Senate version of budget

BY: - May 16, 2023

The NC Department of Environmental Quality would take an $8 million hit in the Senate version of the state budget, released yesterday, compared with proposed appropriations in the House version.  And the 38 additional full-time positions recommended by the House would be cut to just eight by the Senate. DEQ budget Senate       […]

an Ohio windfarm

Rural electric co-ops to get $10.7B in USDA funds for clean energy grants, loans

BY: - May 16, 2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin to administer two loan and grant programs worth nearly $11 billion to boost clean energy systems in rural areas, Biden administration officials said Tuesday. Congress approved the federal spending — $9.7 billion for a grant and loan program the department is calling the New Empowering Rural America program, […]

Kraig Westerbeek, vice president of Smithfield Renewables and Joe Birschbach of Cardinal Bio-Energy

Cardinal Bio-Energy, Smithfield withdraw plan for swine gas operations in Northampton County

BY: - May 15, 2023

Smithfield Foods and its affiliate Cardinal Bio-Energy have withdrawn their application to build two large swine gas projects in Northampton County, according to emails obtained by NC Newsline. The companies had applied to county officials for a special use permit that would have allowed them to install methane capture systems at several Smithfield-owned facilities: on Spud’s […]

a coal-fired power plant sends emissions into the sky

EPA again proposes power plant carbon rules

BY: - May 15, 2023

The Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Power Plan — intended to cut carbon emissions from power plants — was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Trump administration’s much-criticized replacement, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, derided as a “tortured series of misreadings” of the U.S. Clean Air Act, was also tossed by a federal court. […]

the magnificent ramshorn snail

Some states hope to move climate-threatened species, but others say no way

BY: - May 11, 2023

This story is Part Two of a two-part series about a federal proposal to relocate endangered species outside their historic ranges. See Part One: Federal wildlife managers and ecologists weigh the risks of action — and inaction — to rescue species from climate change. North Carolina might need to move a snail. A tiny mollusk […]