an aerial photo of a giant hog farm with eight long metal barns and two waste lagoons that appear to be purple

Ratified and en route to the governor, House Bill 600 defangs state environmental law

BY: - September 25, 2023

Update, Oct. 2, 3:05 p.m.: Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed this bill; it now goes back to the legislature, which vote on whether to override the veto. This is the governor’s statement: “This bill is a hodgepodge of bad provisions that will result in dirtier water, discriminatory permitting and threats to North Carolina’s environment. It also […]

Burlington will curb PFAS discharges, per legal settlement with Haw River Assembly

BY: - August 2, 2023

Levels of toxic PFAS in Burlington’s wastewater have decreased more than 6,000% over the past three years and are expected to decline further, the result of a settlement agreement between the City and the Haw River Assembly finalized this week. The agreement requires Burlington ensure its current and future industrial sources control PFAS discharges before […]

Hands add food scraps to a compost bin

Save your food scraps, save the Earth: More cities and states look to composting

BY: - June 20, 2023

In its fight against both climate change and rats, the New York City Council overwhelmingly passed a new ordinance earlier this month that will require residents to dispose of food scraps and yard waste in vermin-proof curbside containers for future compost, diverting organic materials from landfills and turning them into rich soil. If signed by […]

Vinyl chloride is not just an Ohio problem. More than 5 tons are emitted into the air in North Carolina each year.

BY: - February 20, 2023

In 2020, air permit holders in North Carolina emitted 5.5 tons of vinyl chloride — the same chemical that was released from rail cars during a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this month. To illustrate the magnitude of that environmental disaster, an estimated 550 tons of vinyl chloride was released in East Palestine […]

Ready to whip up a batch of vinegar? 20,000 gallons of acetic acid is looking for its forever home. Adopt it on NC Waste Trader.

BY: - February 8, 2023

Every year the legislature’s Fiscal Research Division provides a Budget 101 for rookie lawmakers. Even if you’ve sat through the presentation a dozen times, it always unearths a new  and precious gem of information.  This year, I learned that 20,000 gallons of acetic acid, which makes up about 5% of vinegar, is sitting in three […]

An aerial photo of semi trucks dumping garbage at the Sampson County landfill.

Sampson County site ranks No. 2 among U.S landfills for methane emissions. Rotting food is part of the problem.

BY: - January 25, 2023

Twenty-five million tons of garbage is rotting in the Sampson County landfill: disposable diapers from Durham, moldy leftovers from refrigerators in Wake, face masks and old toothbrushes from Brunswick.   Over time the detritus of our lives, particularly food waste, breaks down in the landfill and emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that ranks only second to carbon dioxide in driving human-caused climate change.


Moving the misery around: EPA approves plan to truck contaminated soil from one Black community to another

BY: - August 10, 2022

Contaminated soil from a Superfund site in Navassa will be shipped to one of three landfills outside Brunswick County, likely moving toxic pollution from one non-white or low-income community to another.  The proposed cleanup plan, approved by the EPA in late May, highlights the environmental injustices that occur when counties, regulators and polluters offload their problems to communities of color.

Environment 2020: A year of major wins, but also major losses

BY: - December 31, 2020

If it didn't create air pollution, I'd burn my 2020 calendar. A terrible, awful year, despite a few, albeit significant environmental wins. Climate change, of course, continued unabated. Otherwise, without a massive coal ash spill or major hurricane to capture the public's attention, the environmental losses were quieter, more piecemeal, albeit also significant...

Sen. Trudy Wade: Her loss, should it stand, could be a win for the environment

BY: - November 7, 2018

Throughout her three terms, Sen. Trudy Wade earned a reputation as a faithful ally of polluting industries, consistently reliable for a vote against environmental regulation. But if current election results hold, those industries, particularly waste management, will have lost their best friend in the legislature. According to unofficial results from Guilford County, Democrat Michael Garrett […]

Old and in the way: Hurricane Florence could barrel over landfills, waste lagoons, hazardous waste sites and more toxics

BY: - September 11, 2018

Thousands of animal waste lagoons, hazardous waste sites and other repositories of toxic material lie in and near the projected path of Hurricane Florence, increasing the risk of breaches or leaks of dangerous chemicals into the environment.


This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

BY: - December 15, 2017

1. Free speech policy, controversial conservative academic on the agenda for UNC Board of Governors meeting The UNC Board of Governors is holding its last meeting of 2017 Friday, where the latest of its many recent controversies is expected to come to a crescendo, even as the next is cued up. The full board is […]

Environmental bills annotated, Part 1: Problematic SB 16 weakens landfill and coastal development rules, now heads to governor

BY: - August 4, 2017

  What was supposed to be the legislative equivalent of fast food — a quick in-and-out special session — turned into an elaborate eight-course meal — a full-day rife with backdoor discussions, testy debates and attempted sleights of hand. Senate Bill 16, which passed both chambers,  includes some cut-and-paste portions of a failed measure, HB […]