Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Final thoughts

What aspects of the course did you find the most interesting?
What are the key lessons that you'll take from the course?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

NC House Committee Approves Fracking

Today, the NC House Environmental Committee approved a bill that will lift the current ban on the controversial natural gas drilling method of hydraulic fracturing. State agencies would have a little more than two years to devise regulations, and the make-up of the rule-making commissions is part of the discussion. Opponents suggest that two years is not enough time to study the issue and develop the proper safeguards. Proponents argue that fast-tracking the regulations for fracking and issuing permits sooner rather than later is necessary for economic growth.

Read about it here at the Charlotte Observer and here at CBS news.

Here is a link to reports on fracking by the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
(check out the executive summary and recommendations if you don't have time to read the whole report)

One of the main conclusions of the DENR study is that hydro fracking can be done safely if the right safeguards are in place, and that the current ban on fracking should remain in place until proper standards and enforcement mechanisms have been established.

Here is an excellent series from Scholbohm at NCSU:

What N.C. needs to know about Pennsylvania's Energy Experience 

The Cold-Hard Facts about Fracking in North Carolina Part 1

The Cold-Hard Facts about Fracking in North Carolina Part 2

Friday, June 8, 2012

N.C. Senate proposes limits on forecasting of sea level rise

This is a complicated and controversial story that is front page news here at home, and is making headlines all over. A committee of lawmakers in the North Carolina Senate approved a bill that will limit the data that planning agencies are allowed to use in preparing for sea level rise.  Essentially, planners will only be able to base their forecasts on historical increases in sea level rise, which are relatively low compared to the predictions of a state appointed panel of scientists. The bill would allow only the NC Coastal Resources Commission to engage in sea level prediction, and would restrict the data and methodology that can be used.

Here is a link to the bill. The most controversial part is on the second page, part (e) and includes the following language:

"These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of seas-level rise may be extrapolated linearly…"

Read more about it here and here at the News and Observer (thanks Paul L.), here from UNCW's Spencer Rogers at NC Sea Grant, and for some comic relief, here is Stephen Colbert's take on the topic.