Food & Water Watch Applauds North Carolina for Cautious Approach to Fracking
Below is a statement from Food & Water Watch Executive Director, Wenonah Hauter:
“Today the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) released its final report on the potential impacts of legalizing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the state. Thousands of North Carolinians participated in the open hearings about fracking and submitted comments, and their voices greatly improved the draft version of the report. The final report concludes that the current ban should remain in place indefinitely. Importantly, the new conclusion also acknowledges that, given all available information, fracking could put the state’s water resources at risk.
“While a positive development, sustained public pressure and engagement is needed to fully protect communities in the Tar Heel State from the risks and costs to public health and the environment that accompany drilling and fracking for shale gas, especially given the current push to allow fracking in North Carolina. For this reason, Food & Water Watch delivered to Governor Beverly Purdue a letter of invitation from residents and organizations in communities across the United States where drilling and fracking has already taken place, suggesting that she visit them to see and hear firsthand how fracking has affected their lives.
“From California to Pennsylvania, residents living near fracking wells have endured contaminated drinking water, air pollution and bouts with mysterious illnesses. The process has marred landscapes and turned rural communities into sacrifice zones while offering economic benefits to only a lucky few. It is reassuring to see leaders in North Carolina exercising caution on this issue, but Governor Purdue needs to look at the facts about fracking, not fall for industry hype.
“There are many unanswered questions about the potential impact of fracking in North Carolina. Among them:
- The cumulative effect of drilling and fracking on public health in the state
- Whether its possible to avoid polluting drinking water resources
- How the millions of gallons of fracking wastewater from each well can be disposed of safely, and whether or not solid waste from the industry will compromise and contaminate local landfills
- Whether fracking would create negative long term economic consequences for communities throughout the state, and how to ensure that low-income residents do not bear a disproportionate burden
- How funding to develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive new state regulatory program could be secured in the current political climate of budget shortfalls.
“Fracking and horizontal drilling are currently banned in North Carolina, but new bills to legalize the practice are expected to be introduced when the General Assembly resumes this month.
“With so many unanswered questions about the effects of fracking highlighted in DENR’s recent report, combined with the experiences of those who live in areas where fracking is currently occurring, Governor Perdue must be prepared to safeguard public health and the environment by vetoing any legislation that would allow fracking to move forward in our state.”
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A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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