Front Porch Blog

North Carolina’s reckless approach to the Clean Power Plan: Part 2

Editors’ Note: This is the second of three posts in a series this week about North Carolina and the Clean Power Plan. Friday is the final day for North Carolinians to demand the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality abandon its efforts to block the Clean Power Plan. Read part one | Add your voice here.

Offshore Oil Rig image: by Ralf Roletschek licensed under CC. "Oiled Bird - Black Sea Oil Spill" by Marine Photobank, licensed under CC

Offshore Oil Rig image: by Ralf Roletschek licensed under CC. “Oiled Bird – Black Sea Oil Spill” by Marine Photobank, licensed under CC

Failure to develop a real Clean Power Plan means continuing fossil fuel impacts

The deadline for comment on North Carolina’s clean power plan is just two days away and you may be wondering why Appalachian Voices, along with other state environmental groups are sending out so many emails and social media posts about this plan. Why is providing input on the state Clean Power Plan so important?


It is because our energy policies involve many arenas of potential harm to our citizens and the environment. For example:

  • Do you want to stop fracking and offshore oil drilling from taking hold in North Carolina?
  • Do you worry about coal ash toxic byproducts entering our air and water?
  • Are outraged by Duke Energy’s attempts at blocking residential solar installations?
  • Do you want to reduce the power utility companies hold over their ratepayers’ energy choices?

The Plan will chart our state’s role and leadership in becoming a clean power state and will either lift citizens away from the contamination and impacts of fossil fuel use, or it will commit us to more of the same destructive power sources.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed first hand the impacts of dirty energy. There are 14 communities across the state already saddled with the repercussions of years of unregulated coal ash dumping from decades of relying on coal to fuel our homes. Hundred of citizens are unable to drink or cook with their own water due to the presence of elevated levels of toxic metals, and it has affected people’s health and well being. Many of these impacted citizens have been living off bottled water for the majority of the year already.

As North Carolina’s elected officials and environmental agency — the Department of Environmental Quality — look for ways to entice the fracking industry to begin land-based hydraulic fracturing, our Governor is supporting offshore drilling and working to reduce the 50 mile buffer for oil rigs, and our top environmental enforcer, DEQ Secretary Donald Van der Vaart, is leading the fight against developing a real clean power plan.

North Carolinians deserve a clean energy future.

With the right policies, we can prioritize renewable energy development over new investments in fossil fuels, like hydraulic fracturing. With the right policies, we can move away from energy sources that leave us with toxic wastes, like coal ash and fracking sludge. With the right policies, we can make homes more energy efficient, so that we need less energy for heating and cooling, and make those efficiency improvements to the homes that need them most.

But DEQ seems unwilling to work on the right policies. Instead DEQ is ideologically opposed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandating that states create a Clean Power Plan that reduces carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. So, instead of working on the right policies, they are jockeying to be the first in court with the EPA by creating a plan they know and hope EPA will reject, allowing them to go to court (thanks to tax dollar funding) sooner rather than later. And this despite the fact that poll after poll shows overwhelming public support for clean energy resources.

The kind of legal maneuvering currently happening around the DEQ’s “plan to fail” is putting our clean energy future at risk. And there are only 2 more days to call DEQ out on its actions. Together, we must demand a real clean energy plan out of our environmental officials.

Take action, make your voice heard, and share this message with friends and family.

About Amy Adams

Appalachian Voice's North Carolina Program Manager, Amy has traveled from the blue waters of the Pamlico to the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Boone, and possesses a passion for protecting resources for all North Carolinians.

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