Republican attack on the environment

Not Renewable: Robeson County opposed to new wood pellet plant

This needs to be stopped in its tracks:

A proposed wood pellet plant faces vehement opposition from many Robeson County residents, including elected officials, and environmental advocates, who say the facility would not only pollute the air, but also would be financially risky and environmentally unjust.

The NC Department of Environmental Quality held a virtual public hearing Monday night to receive formal comments on a draft air permit for the plant, owned and operated by Active Energy Renewable Power, in Lumberton. More than 125 people attended, and of the roughly 50 who spoke, just four asked DEQ to approve the air permit; three of them were affiliated with the company.

NC has already lost over a hundred thousand acres of forests due to this industry, and we are now the biggest exporter of wood pellets in the world. Aside from the permitting issues of this newest plant, the cumulative effect on our state needs to be analyzed. Not just by advocates, but by DEQ itself. And let's not forget the environmental justice aspects:

FERC authorizes MVP Southgate to begin eminent domain takings in NC

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And you can thank the Trump administration for that heavy hand:

Environmental advocates immediately condemned FERC’s decision. “The Mountain Valley main pipeline has violated water quality standards more than 300 times in Virginia and West Virginia. Yet, this same company plans to extend into North Carolina and bring its reckless construction practices to bear on the communities of these three counties for an entirely unneeded project,” said Ridge Graham, North Carolina field coordinator for Appalachian Voices.

The FERC certificate allows the developer, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, to begin using eminent domain to seize private property for construction along the proposed route, even as the pipeline’s viability remains in question.

Elections have consequences, Chapter 98. Donald Trump made it clear in 2015/2016 when he was campaigning that he would push de-regulation hard if elected President, but many of us (including me) did not believe he would be able to do much along those lines. I was wrong. I made the fatal mistake of assuming that legal barriers and the relative autonomy of individual states would hold him back. But he doesn't understand those things, so he just plows right over them:

Despite pandemic behavior changes, atmospheric carbon is still rising

And these numbers should be truly frightening to you:

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached the highest ever recorded — 417.1 parts per million, according to an announcement yesterday by NOAA and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Even the economic crash related to the pandemic didn’t slow the uptick in CO2, a greenhouse gas and main driver of climate change. Levels didn’t decrease in part because CO2 lingers in the atmosphere for a long time. There is also natural variability in CO2 levels based on plants and soils. So to make a dent in carbon dioxide levels, NOAA said, would require a sustained 20% to 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for six to 12 months.

That debris you see on the beach in the photo all came from one house in Rodanthe, and happened about a week ago. Luckily nobody was occupying it at the time, but several others in nearly the same condition had to be evacuated. The fact the town was even allowing occupation of these homes just gives you an idea of the reckless and negligent approach to development there, but that's a discussion for another time. Governor Cooper and the NC DEQ are making an effort to combat climate change and prepare us for resilience:

To serve and protect: AG Josh Stein sues Trump over vehicle emissions

Sometimes you have to fight to preserve progress:

The lawsuit argues that the final Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) rule stops progress that has been made to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, hurts the economy, and harms public health.

“The Trump administration’s new rule undoes hard-earned progress to protect our health, environment, and economy,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “As Attorney General, I will fight to uphold the law and safeguard the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

"Hard-earned progress" is right on the money. The U.S. Supreme Court had to (literally) order George W. Bush's EPA to regulate vehicle emissions in 2007, and they fiddled around until Obama's EPA started genuinely working on it. But here's the kicker: auto makers responded to both the emissions regulations and CAFE Standards (MPG), and vast improvements were made in both areas. Traffic still backs up around LA, but most of the smog is gone. In other words, everybody's happy, except the anti-government ideologues. This is what we're dealing with:

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