Monday numbers: A closer look at mining, including one polluter that refuses to pay

BY: - June 27, 2022

Last week, the newly constituted state Mining Commission met for the first time since the Earth cooled. The delay was due to a Gov. McCrory-era legal rigmarole that raised the question of whether it was constitutional for state lawmakers to appoint people to the Mining Commission, along with similar bodies overseeing coal ash, and oil and gas.

Crowd of people who are frowning because the Yadkin County planning board is approving a rezoning for a mine

Despite overwhelming community opposition, proposed Yadkin County mine clears first hurdle

BY: - June 14, 2022

Dean Swaim, the stern chairman of the Yadkin County Planning Board, stifled an outburst with a whack of his gavel. “You will respect the board,” he told the roughly 200 people who had just released a collective groan. A vote was pending to rezone land for a controversial rock quarry, proposed for a 498-acre tract in Hamptonville — and it didn’t appear to be going the residents’ way.

Democrats from the West push update of 150-year-old federal mining law

BY: and - May 11, 2022

Democrats in Congress are hoping to overhaul the nation’s 150-year-old system for mining the elements needed for battery manufacturing, as high gas prices and Russia’s war in Ukraine underline the need to transition from oil and gas to renewable energy sources. U.S. House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva of Arizona and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich […]

The Week in Pollution: Chemours says toxic GenX helps fight climate change

BY: - April 25, 2022

GenX — a toxic compound scientifically linked to several cancers, high cholesterol, thyroid disorders, reproductive issues, fetal development problems and a depressed immune system — is … ahem, necessary to fight climate change? That’s the claim by Chemours, in its March filing to the EPA rebutting the agency’s toxicity assessment of GenX. Sharon Lerner of […]

This week in pollution: Another violation for Winston Weaver fertilizer plant, plus meetings on proposed mine, coal ash

BY: - April 11, 2022

For environmental watchdogs, the new EPA notification service is better than birthday, Halloween celebrations combined. Even better than guessing the Wordle puzzle on the first try. The EPA a free ECHO Notify, and every Monday morning your inbox will ping with a list of all the violations and enforcement actions entered into the database by […]

Caswell County judge dismisses mining company lawsuit against residents, citing free speech

BY: - March 22, 2022

A Caswell County judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Carolina Sunrock against opponents of a proposed mine and two asphalt plants, ruling that the defendants are engaging in constitutionally protected speech. Last year Carolina Sunrock sued 58 residents who were petitioning Caswell County officials to stop the projects. The Thomas Holt Branch of the […]


Follow the money in two eye-opening audits, a community unites against a proposed mine, and NC turns the page on the pandemic: The week’s top stories on Policy Watch

BY: - March 18, 2022

In this issue: 1. Yadkin County residents dig in for a fight against a proposed mine near homes, elementary school After living all over North Carolina, Terry and Joyce Long finally came home. In 2020, they bought a tract of land in Hamptonville adjacent to property that had been in Joyce’s family for five generations. […]

DEQ denies mining permit for quarry next to Umstead State Park

BY: - February 17, 2022

This is a developing story. The NC Department of Environmental Quality has denied a mining permit for a controversial quarry next to the 5,600-acre Umstead State Park in Raleigh, citing “significantly adverse effects” from “noise, visual and truck traffic impacts” that would interfere with the park’s purpose. The proposed quarry has been contentious since 2019, […]

PFAS, climate change, mining and hazardous waste: 2022 will be another critical year for the environment in North Carolina

BY: - January 3, 2022

On the first day of 2022, the neighbors’ air conditioners were running. The temperature at Raleigh-Durham International Airport hit 78 degrees, a record for the date; at 1:51 p.m. the high humidity even produced a heat index of 79. A heat index. In January.

Unexplained drilling on land owned by former lawmaker alarms neighbors in Yadkin County

BY: - December 14, 2021

Firm headed by developer with links to mining and fracking is looking for something on former State Rep. Wilma Sherrill's property For the past six months, mysterious drilling has been conducted on a vast tract of land north of Hamptonville, in Yadkin County, and the company president behind the project is refusing to disclose what he’s looking for and why.

U.S. House plan for new mining royalties draws objections from Western senators

BY: and - October 6, 2021

U.S. senators of both parties at a hearing Tuesday rejected House Democrats’ plans to impose billions of dollars in royalties and other fees on companies that mine for gold, copper, lithium and other minerals, largely in Southwestern states. Among the opponents was Nevada Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, who said she objected to the House proposal […]

‘Sooner’ or ‘later’? Fate of Wake Stone quarry near Umstead State Park hinges on one word

BY: - June 15, 2021

Former N.C. Attorney General says there was no typo, but the state intended for mining to wind down in 2032, not the 22nd century One word — “sooner” — in a 40-year-old mining permit could alter the future of a quarry and its proposed expansion adjacent to Umstead State Park in Raleigh.