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Tue, 2014-02-04 11:39Farron Cousins
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Duke Energy Spills Thousands Of Tons Of Coal Ash Into North Carolina River

Residents in the city of Eden, North Carolina are currently in danger of having their drinking water destroyed thanks to Duke Energy.  The coal giant has reported a coal ash spill in the Dan River with as much as 82,000 tons of the toxic pollutant released into the waterway.

According to EcoWatch, it took an astounding 24 hours after the accident occurred for Duke to issue a press release to inform the public about the chemicals that were very quickly making their way down river.  It is currently estimated that 22 million gallons of coal ash are now flowing along the river.  The spill has already been declared the third largest in U.S. history.

This was not an unavoidable catastrophe.

Duke was warned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September 2009 that the coal ash storage site was falling apart, and the EPA even noted several instances of coal ash sludge already leaking from corroded pipes.  The EPA report also noted that portions of the dam that were supposed to be keeping the coal ash in its retention pond were crumbling.

The coal ash spill is the second major environmental chemical spill in less than a month, following the West Virginia chemical spill in early January.

Mon, 2013-11-25 05:00Sharon Kelly
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Banks Reluctant to Lend in Shale Plays as Evidence Mounts on Harm to Property Values Near Fracking

Over the past several years, the fossil-fuel industry has been highly adept at publicizing the economic upshots of fracking: royalty checks, decreased prices for oil and gas, profits for investors. 

But the industry is far less eager to discuss the hidden costs of the current drilling boom – the longterm price of air and water pollution, the consequences of undermining a nascent renewable energy industry, the harms from accidents when moving and storing all the hazardous waste fracking produces. 

Add to that list of hidden costs one that is starting to grab more attention from bankers and the real estate industry: property values and mortgage problems. New research, for example, demonstrates that the vast majority of prospective buyers say they would decline to buy a home near oil and gas drilling.

As millions of Americans sign oil and gas leases granting the right to companies to extract fossil fuels from their land, they are realizing that these documents often conflict with their mortgages, which is leading to all manner of legal and financial headaches, and make it harder to sell homes on land whose oil and gas rights are leased.

Concern about these impacts is spreading in southern states like Texas, Alabama and Florida, according to a survey due for release in the next several weeks from the University of Dever. In northeastern states like Pennsylvania, fracking worries have prompted lenders to begin rejecting mortgage applications due to gas drilling – on neighboring property. In Colorado, real estate brokers describe keeping a long list of sellers in heavily fracked areas, but a paucity of buyers. 

Under the terms mortgage buyers like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require, “you cannot cause or permit any hazardous materials to be on your property and it specifically references oil and gas,” Greg May, vice president of residential mortgage lending at Tompkins Bank, told American Banker in an interview published Nov. 12. “That alone would make it a problem.”

The repercussions for the American real estate market could be enormous. More than 15.3 million Americans – roughly one out of every 20 people living in the U.S.– now live within a mile of an oil or gas well that was drilled since 2000, the Wall St. Journal recently reported

And that may be just the tip of the iceberg since shale gas and oil wells require ongoing drilling for them to stay productive. In 2010, for example, Pennsylvania regulators predicted a more than 10-fold increase in shale wells in their state over the next couple decades.

Tue, 2013-01-15 11:09Steve Horn
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ALEC to Attack North Carolina Renewable Energy Initiatives

Renewable energy is under attack in the Tar Heel State. That's the word from Greenpeace USA's Connor Gibson today in a report that implicates King Coal powerhouse, Duke Energy and the fossil fuel industry at-large. 

The vehicle Duke Energy is utilizing for this attack is one whose profile has grown in infamy in recent years: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

ALEC is described as a “corporate bill mill” by its critics. It's earned such a description because it passes “model bills” written by corporate lobbyists and to boot, the lobbyists typically do so behind closed doors at ALEC's annual meetings. 

Thu, 2008-01-17 10:50Mitchell Anderson
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Phony “Peer Review” tries to Undermine Climate Action in North Carolina

Industry friendly “think” tanks have been working up a sweat this week in North Carolina to derail bipartisan climate action.

The John Locke Foundation issued two press releases in the last week citing a “peer-review” hatchet-job by the Beacon Hill Institute – attacking a recent report by the North Carolina Climate Action Plan Advisory Group (NC-CAPAG) and an accompanying jobs analysis from Appalachian State University.
Wed, 2007-11-28 09:42Kevin Grandia
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John Locke Foundation a Case Study in Global Warming Spin

Recently we've been writing a lot about the John Locke Foundation, a North Carolina-based “think” tank.

The reason being that they offer an excellent case study on the world of climate science misinformation and public relations spin.

A case in point today, is a headline on the JLF's blog titled: “US Senate Committee Disagreeing with Alarmist Views After Reviewing New Evidence.” This would be an interesting revelation if it was true.

Thu, 2007-11-15 16:48Kevin Grandia
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Who is Roy Cordato?

The other day we posted on a right-wing think tank called the John Locke Foundation (JLF) that was duped into praising a fake global warming study.

After posting the story we received a pretty quick response from the dupe himself, Roy Cordato, who's listed on the JLF website as a “vice-president for research and resident scholar.” Turns out that Mr. Cordato fashions himself as somewhat of a “scholar” on the issue of climate change.

Check out this video of Cordato promoting the global cooling in the 1970's climate denier speaking point (I might have made a few slight edits)…

Thu, 2007-07-26 13:39Kevin Grandia
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John Locke Foundation launches a same-ol, same-ol North Carolina misinformation campaign

We'll never know whether the great empiricist John Locke would have been part of the global warming denial industry, but we can be pretty darn sure that the self-proclaimed “John Locke Foundation” (JLF) is.

The JLF is a well-heeled political organization based in North Carolina that has recently published a “North Carolina's citizen's guide to global warming” (pdf). The guide contains the usual global warming myths perpetuated ad naseum by the global warming denial echo machine; water vapor, medieval warming period etc.

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