Contrary to the alarmist press releases of self-styled environmental groups, the quality of North Carolina's air is good and getting better, even as industry expands and vehicular traffic increases across much of the state. Flawed reporting and biased standards contribute to the gap between perception and reality.
(10.15.12) Rate Hikes Hamper Progress
During the past decade, the state legislature decided that chasing elusive gains in air quality was a higher priority than chasing new jobs.
(8.29.08) AG is AWOL in Corruption Cases
While wasting time on a battle against the Tennessee Valley Authority, Roy Cooper has done little to protect North Carolinians from politicians who break the law.
(4.24.07) JLF: Air Quality Deserves Praise
RALEIGH — North Carolina’s air quality deserves praise, not the scare tactics some environmental groups offer on Earth Day. That’s the key finding in a new John Locke Foundation Spotlight report.
(4.05.06) Expert: Beware Global Warming Bias
RALEIGH — A North Carolina group studying global warming needs to beware of “pervasive bias” in the debate, according to Virginia’s state climatologist. Pat Michaels says negative reports about global-warming projections outnumber positive reports by a 15-1 ratio.
Related NC Air Quality Articles:
Commission speakers debate emissions
Utilities urge limits on carbon dioxide
(3.08.06) 'Warming' Skeptic Stresses Costs
RALEIGH — North Carolina would put itself into an “infinitely indefensible” position if it tries to take steps on its own to curb global warming, according to Robert Balling, one of the nation’s leading global-warming “skeptics.”
Related NC Environment Articles:
Geologist: Outer Banks in danger
(10.10.05) Critics: Climate Panel Not Balanced
RALEIGH — A commission to study the effects of global climate change, established by the General Assembly this year, could be constituted to arrive at a foregone conclusion because of its makeup, some critics say. Environmental groups, which have constantly issued dire threats about the dangers of global warming, are amply represented on the panel.
(8.19.05) More Good News on Air Pollution
The news media in North Carolina continues to provide a skewed picture of the air-pollution trends in the state — which are promising, not alarming.
(7.25.05) Heat is Up, But Ozone's Down
RALEIGH — It's July, and the heat is high in North Carolina, even hotter than usual — yet elevated ozone levels usually associated with hot weather haven't materialized. “Our temperature is running quite a bit above normal,” said Gail Hartfield, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Raleigh. But as of Thursday, the Triangle had experienced only three Code Orange days this year — twice in April and once in June.
(7.13.05) Global Warming Threat Said Overblown
RALEIGH — Lawmakers at the national, state and international level should avoid drastic measures to deal with global warming because of the huge economic costs for virtually no benefit, Dr. S. Fred Singer told a group of media and legislators Tuesday. The Kyoto Treaty calls for a 35 percent decrease in carbon dioxide emissions, which would require 35 percent less energy use, Singer said. If fully implemented, the global temperature difference would amount to one-fiftieth of a degree, a difference not even measurable by official weather service thermometers, he said.
(3.10.05) Rate Freeze Allowed Despite Audit
RALEIGH—Despite strong evidence that Duke Energy intentionally fudged its accounting in order to preserve its level of earnings, in 2002 the North Carolina Utilities Commission agreed to allow the utility to freeze its rates for five years through the Clean Smokestacks Act. Auditors from accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP, after wrangling with Duke for access to documents, determined that the company hid $124 million in excessive earnings by moving money from its regulated business to its unregulated business.
(3.09.05) Duke Doubted Smokestacks' Merits
RALEIGH—When the North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Plan was first presented to the Department of Natural Resources staff, several environmentalist groups and the state’s two investor-owned electric utilities already supported the legislation. But statements and information culled from e-mails, obtained from state agencies by Carolina Journal, show that Duke Energy did not agree that the Smokestacks bill improved air quality.
(3.08.05) Smokestacks Built on Dubious Data
RALEIGH—The North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Plan, the report on which the state’s landmark 2002 legislation was built, was written by a left-wing environmental group and contained assumptions based on what some call “junk science.” Environmental Defense, which produced the plan, believes the United States should sign on to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and used last year’s big budget film fantasy "The Day After Tomorrow" as a launching point to warn about the dangers of global warming.
(3.07.05) Smokestacks Bill Helped Utilities
RALEIGH—Contrary to the stated objectives of its supporters, the 2002 North Carolina Clean Smokestacks law — based on controversial environmental assumptions used to espouse questionable health benefits — may have been crafted to help protect the state’s two largest electricity suppliers from federal lawsuits and fines. The plan, signed into law June 2002, was developed by the liberal group Environmental Defense, which had joined the federal Environmental Protection Agency in a lawsuit against Duke Energy for alleged emissions violations at seven coal-fired power plants.
(3.03.05) Cooper Worries About Bush Plan
RALEIGH — In his latest promotion of North Carolina’s Clean Smokestacks Act, Attorney General Roy Cooper last month objected to provisions of President Bush’s Clear Skies initiative, because of concerns that it would override provisions in the state law. But an analysis of Cooper’s claims show that his worries are unwarranted or that they are based on a dubious legal foundation. Documents show that either the Smokestacks law would not be affected by Clear Skies, or that the Smokestack law’s implemented requirements might have been unconstitutional in the first place.
(2.17.05) City Grapples With Air-Quality Issues
CHARLOTTE — Charlotte’s air pollution “crisis” raises a subtle question — what is accomplished by coming up with a creative, market-based solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist? The good news here is that Charlotte’s business community seems likely to retain some control over its own destiny as the city attempts to avoid running afoul of tighter clean air regulations. The bad news is that the whole “crisis” is the result of the Environmental Protection Agency declaring that Charlotte continues to miss its target for ground-level ozone, despite concerns about its methodology.
(2.10.05) Wrong on Pollution Facts -- Again
A new story alleges NC air quality is among the worst in the US and can't be improved without pushing mass transit and Smart Growth. Just goes to show the persistence of myths.
(1.20.05) Blowing Second-Hand Smoke
Mecklenburg County has far more pressing issues to bring before the state legislature than an attack on second-hand smoke, a "problem" of dubious merits.
(9.08.04) Couldn't Stand the Weather
Mecklenburg County officials struggle to find ways to cut down on ozone levels just as weather patterns and cleaner cars do the work for them.
(8.31.04) JLF Report Exposes Pollution Myths
RALEIGH — Air pollution has been solved as a long-term problem by already-adopted measures that will eliminate most remaining pollution from automobiles and industry in coming years, according to a new report released by the John Locke Foundation. Author Joel Schwartz notes that the recently raised federal ozone standard is the only remaining air-quality challenge facing the state, which meets the EPA’s standards for carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and “coarse” airborne particulates (PM10). Nearly all of the state’s monitors comply with new fine particulate standards (PM2.5), as well as the EPA’s previous ozone standard.
(8.19.04) Trains May Worsen Air Pollution
Advocates of mass transit can cast aspersions all they like, but it is they who cling to the notion that rail lines will improve air quality even though research and common sense suggest they won’t.
(5.14.04) Air Quality Improving in NC and US
RALEIGH — Contrary to exaggerated claims by environmental extremists that air pollution is worsening, air-quality expert Joel Schwartz told three separate audiences in NC last week that conditions have improved nationwide and in their state. Using data culled from studies published by the Environmental Protection Agency, Schwartz demonstrated that pollution trends for all major cities in the United States are on a downward trajectory. He said the truth contradicts what the majority of Americans have shown they believe in various polls. “Americans think the air has gotten worse,” Schwartz said in Raleigh. “Of course, just the opposite is the case.”
(4.14.04) No. 748: There's Good News on the Environment, So Where's the Party?
North Carolina's air is getting cleaner, but why don't environmentalists and the media report that fact?
(4.11.04) Do the Wrong Thing
Local officials want more information about their air quality. It's too bad that the federal government will likely punish them for trying to find out more.
(3.18.04) AG Targets Six More Polluting States
RALEIGH — Attorney General Roy Cooper wrote to officials in six other states last week saying that their states must cut down on pollution that is dirtying North Carolina's air. "Numerous studies show that North Carolina received transported pollution from several other states, including your state," Cooper wrote to attorneys general in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The new letters closely resemble letters Cooper wrote to seven other states in December: Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
(12.15.03) No. 724: Cooper Wages Environmental Imperialism Against Other States
In 2002 the North Carolina General Assembly passed the “clean smokestacks” bill. The legislation mandates dramatic reductions in emissions from coal-fired power plants run by Duke Power Co. and Progress Energy and will cost North Carolina electric customers more than $2 billion over the next eight years. In spite of the high price tag, the law was enacted with no cost-benefit analysis or serious scientific investigation of its health effects. Now that these costs are a permanent part of living and doing business in North Carolina, Attorney General Roy Cooper has decided to use a little-known aspect of the law in an attempt to impose these hardships on our neighbors. The smokestacks bill authorizes the state to “use all available resources and means,” including lawsuits, “to induce other states...to achieve reductions in emissions...comparable to those required [in NC]...”
(12.11.03) Cooper Seeks Tighter Regulations
RALEIGH — Attorney Gen. Roy Cooper on Friday notified seven states that he will petition the Environmental Protection Agency to seek greater restrictions on pollutants in those states. Cooper’s step was spurred by the passage of the “Clean Smokestacks Act,” which requires NC utilities to significantly reduce emissions from their 14 coal-fired power plants in the state. The law also authorizes the state to “use all available resources and means,” including interstate agreements and litigation, “to induce other states and entities... to achieve reductions in emissions... comparable to those required by [the Smokestacks law] on a comparable schedule.”
(11.06.03) No. 715: Regulatory Reform to Clean the Air and Lower Costs
Some state governments, under influence from environmental pressure groups, have chosen to challenge the Bush administration's decision to make it easier for electric utility companies to undertake improvements and repairs at older coal-fired power plants. The decision will give utilities more leeway to upgrade and modernize equipment in ways that will increase energy efficiency and reduce pollution. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has shown concern for both the environment and utility customers and resisted the pressure to appeal the President's decision.
(9.26.03) No. 702: EPA Report Exposes Environmental Alarmists
Environmental pressure groups regularly publish “studies,” blindly reported by the media, meant to convince people that the environment is falling apart. We are also told that as a consequence our health and quality of life are declining. In June the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exposed all of this as nonsense.
(5.14.03) Reviewing Government Regulators
RALEIGH — Government regulations cost each typical American household about $8,000 a year, an EPA official said recently at a John Locke Foundation luncheon. In describing the value of reviewing the type and extent of government regulatory activities, Allen C. Basala, a senior economist with the Environmental Protection Agency's Center for Air Quality Planning and Standards, said that the savings could total between $3.6 billion to $21 billion per year.
(5.01.03) The Lung Association Gets It Wrong
RALEIGH — As the American Lung Association prepares to release its annual State of the Air report Thursday, including county rankings that often receive significant media attention, a new study from the John Locke Foundation calls into question the usefulness of the ALA ranking system, particularly when applied to North Carolina communities. “The annual American Lung Association is methodologically flawed,” the Locke Foundation study concludes. “Its reporting of data and detrimental health effects is misleading, and its grading system and rankings are meaningless.”
(3.26.03) Study: Global Warming Regs Would Cost NC
RALEIGH — A statewide program to reduce greenhouse gases to levels required by the United Nation’s Kyoto Protocol on global warming would likely cost North Carolina households an average of $7,249 a year and consumers and businesses $22.7 billion in higher energy costs and lost wages, according to a recent study by an independent think tank. The regulations would also significantly reduce revenues to the state.
(3.05.03) Cities Focusing on Mass Transit Have Greater Congestion
The 2002 Urban Mobility Report, a study of urban congestion, found that cities whose highway construction kept close pace with traffic growth were successful in limiting drive times for commuters, reports Paul Chesser.
(1.03.03) No. 637: Jesus Wouldn't Use Junk Science
The Christian left and the environmentalist left have teamed up. The Evangelical Environmental Network is planning an ad campaign in selected states, including North Carolina, based on the theme, “What Would Jesus Drive?” EEN argues that “transportation is a moral issue,” which apparently means that Christians should use transportation options sanctioned by the environmentalist left.
(11.04.02) N.C. Tells Neighboring States to Clean Up Air
When the “clean smokestacks” bill was overwhelmingly approved by the General Assembly in June, most lawmakers said North Carolina needed to regulate its power plants’ emissions before it could tell neighboring states to clean up their act. Empowered by the new law, the state is now telling the rest of the Southeast that it must also take the environmental high ground — or else. Paul Chesser reports…
(10.31.02) No. 627: Scaring Our Children: Asthma and Ozone Pollution
Despite claims by Erskine Bowles and environmentalists, there is no correlation between ozone pollution and asthma.
(10.29.02) Study Finds No Ozone-Asthma Link
There is no link between ground-level ozone, or “smog,” and asthma among children, according to a new study by Dr. Roy Cordato of the John Locke Foundation. He cautions policymakers and the news media to “check the facts” before coming to conclusions about scientific issues.