By Avram Friedman

Last year Becky Johnson of The Smoky Mountain News interviewed me about Evergreen Packaging’s plans to convert their electrical power plant from being fueled by coal to natural gas. This transformation was being touted as an advancement that would greatly improve regional air quality as it decreased operating costs due to currently less expensive natural gas. Further incentive was the promise that state government funds, about $12 million, would be made available to subsidize the renovation.

fr landfillThe old Francis Farm Landfill in Waynesville has been closed for nearly 20 years, but its ghost continues to haunt Haywood County.

The county is facing an estimated $5 to $7.5 million in additional environmental cleanup costs for the old landfill, compounding the $1.2 million already shelled out over the past six years.

One month after low oxygen levels killed the bacteria needed to process sewage at the Cherokee Wastewater Treatment Plant, discharge flowing back into the Oconaluftee River is still on the cloudy side as employees work to get the plant fully back online. It’s not clear exactly what killed the bacteria, but the best guess is it has something to do with 8 tons of sand employees removed right around the time the bacteria crashed. 

fr evergreenEvergreen Packaging paper mill in Canton could get $12 million in state assistance to offset the cost of converting from coal to natural gas, if a proposal pending in the General Assembly goes through.

fr shootingrangeSouthwestern Community College is gearing up for some soil testing following a meeting with Robin Proctor, environmental chemist with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, on Tuesday. SCC had taken the initiative to call the meeting as plans to improve its shooting range brought up the fact that an estimated 60 tons of lead shot have accumulated in the range’s clay berm in the 30 years it’s been in use. 

out frWarmer weather is on its way, but along with the sunny afternoons comes the return of ozone season. A bad forecast can cancel high elevations hiking trips and outdoor playdates, but North Carolina has been seeing a decrease in those high-risk days. In fact, summer 2013 was the lowest season on record, following a downward trend in ozone that’s held steady since 1999.

“In the environmental arena, you don’t always see those kinds of results, so it’s very rewarding for those of us who have worked on these issues to see those results,” said Bill Eaker, environmental planner for the Land of Sky Regional Council. “But we still have a lot to do.”

fr evergreenEvergreen Packaging paper mill in Canton is embarking on a $50 million natural gas conversion of its coal-fired boilers to comply with new federal air pollution limits.

out natcornPeople say the corporate world has no soul. Corporations don’t give a rat’s behind about their employees, especially after they’re gone. And the flip side is employees are just there to get a paycheck. They do what it takes, and if they’re lucky, they have a job that pays the bills while they can’t wait to get the heck outta there. Well, I’m here to tell you it ain’t always so. I mean, we have a great example right here in North Carolina.

out frEvergreen Packaging’s Canton paper mill will be writing some big checks over the coming years as it moves to comply with an Environmental Protection Agency rule 10 years in the making.

It’s been more than a decade since the EPA first proposed stricter limits for toxic pollutant emissions from boilers, but once it released the final regulation in December 2012, companies nationwide began gearing up for the expensive upgrades necessary to comply. Evergreen is among them.

Eight new monitoring wells will be drilled an old landfill in Haywood County, the latest step in an ongoing effort to track and measure groundwater contamination emanating from the now-closed landfill.

Page 2 of 3
Go to top