Southern Environmental Law Center

DOT allegedly failed to set targets to reduce driving, required as part of settlement over Wake County toll road

BY: - March 27, 2023

The state Department of Transportation has not met its obligations under an historic settlement agreement over the Complete 540 toll road, according to a letter from the Southern Environmental Law Center. The letter to DOT, dated March 17, alleges the agency has failed to set targets to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled – […]

Sanford’s wastewater treatment plant legally discharges high levels of PFAS. Public can chime in on whether to strengthen its permit.

BY: - March 6, 2023

In an area already burdened by toxic chemicals in their drinking water, residents, environmental advocates and public water systems are asking state regulators to strengthen requirements for Sanford’s wastewater treatment plant – especially for discharges of toxic PFAS and 1,4-Dioxane.  The City of Sanford has applied to the NC Department of Environmental Quality to renew […]

Active Energy selling Lumberton wood pellet site

BY: - March 31, 2022

Active Energy Group is selling its failed wood pellet facility in Lumberton to Phoenix Investors, a Wisconsin-based commercial real estate firm, according to a press release issued today. Proceeds from the sale will be used for the development of Active Energy’s commercial production facility in Ashland, Maine. Phoenix Investors is a commercial real estate firm focused on […]

Legal notice alleges Active Energy discharging PFAS into Lumber River; Commerce Dept concerned over wood pellet company viability

BY: - February 11, 2022

Active Energy Renewable Power, a wood pellet plant beset by regulatory, legal, and operational troubles, is allegedly discharging high levels of toxic PFAS into the Lumber River, a drinking water supply for 25,000 people in Robeson County. The company is also allegedly discharging the compounds into Jacob’s Branch, a tributary of the Lumber River.


EPA launches civil rights inquiry into DEQ’s permitting of biogas systems on hog farms

BY: - January 14, 2022

The Environmental Protection Agency is opening an investigation into whether state regulators violated civil rights law when last spring, they granted permits to four industrialized hog farms that are installing anaerobic digesters to produce biogas for renewable energy. The investigation is in response to a complaint against the NC Department of Environmental Quality filed by […]

On the verge of extinction, red wolves get a reprieve; US Fish & Wildlife reinstate protections, upending Trump-era proposal

BY: - November 15, 2021

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has withdrawn a proposed rule that would have allowed people to intentionally kill red wolves in most of northeastern North Carolina, and would have likely led to the extinction of the species in the wild. The federal action essentially resets the agency’s policy on red wolf management. Red wolves […]

EPA: GenX far more toxic that originally thought, could prompt NC to significantly reduce health advisory goal

BY: - October 26, 2021

GenX, a chemical compound found in the drinking water of more than 1 million North Carolinians, is far more toxic that scientists originally believed, according to the EPA. The agency yesterday released a final toxicology assessment for the compound, showing that even lower levels of GenX in drinking water could harm human health, particularly the liver.


Should Justice Phil Berger Jr. recuse himself from voter-ID law case in which his dad, Berger Sr., is a defendant?

BY: - August 16, 2021

A lawsuit challenging two constitutional amendments regarding a voter ID law and an income tax cap is in the state Supreme Court, but there are still important decisions about whether Justice Phil Berger Jr. should recuse himself before oral arguments, slated for Aug. 31. The lawsuit NAACP v. Moore, filed in August 2018, named Senate President Pro Tem Phil […]

Pittsboro officials have activated emergency response over 1,4-Dioxane release that could threaten drinking water

BY: - July 2, 2021

High levels of 1,4-Dioxane could contaminate the drinking water for Pittsboro as early as today, prompting town officials to activate its emergency response, which includes extensive sampling and testing of the drinking water. As Policy Watch reported Thursday evening, the contaminated discharge originated upstream, at Greensboro’s TZ Osborne wastewater treatment plant. The plant sent effluent containing […]

Eight red wolves released into the wild in eastern North Carolina in hopes of keeping the species from going extinct

BY: - May 17, 2021

They’ve waited their whole lives for this moment. Four adult red wolves were released into a wildlife refuge in eastern North Carolina, and four red wolf pups were fostered to a female in hopes of rebuilding the world’s only wild population of the endangered species. Before the release, there were seven red wolves living in […]

Federal court rules that DEQ acted legally in denying MVP Southgate permit, but must explain itself

BY: - March 12, 2021

State environmental officials acted within their legal authority when denying a water quality permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate project, but part of their justification was insufficient, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday. A three-judge panel from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia struck the denial and sent it back to the […]

Active Energy sued in federal court — again

BY: - March 11, 2021

The Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of Winyah Rivers Alliance, is suing Active Energy Renewable Power over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at its facility in Lumberton. Active Energy RP plans to build a wood pellet manufacturing plant there, on Alamac Road, but the facility is 18 months behind schedule. Instead a […]