Well near CTS tests seven times above safe levels: According to an August update from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, a monitoring well located “along the southern side of Mills Gap Road and east of the site approaching Concord Road, detected 35,000 parts per billion of trichloroethylene, which exceeds the federal safe drinking water standards.” Click here (and scroll down the page) to see the report, which also notes that state officials have delayed action on a clean-up agreement with the company until the Environmental Protection Agency decides whether to list the site on the National Priorities List — a step in the Superfund clean-up process.
Local activist resigns from advisory energy board: Dr. Richard Fireman recently withdrew from the Community Energy Advisory Council, created by Progress Energy in the spring of 2007 as a forum for dialogue between citizens and the company. Fireman, a member of the nonprofit North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light group, says the company continues to block efforts to create a statewide, comprehensive energy-efficiency program (NC Save$), and it’s still planning to build another power plant to serve Western North Carolina (a proposed project in Woodfin fell through, after community resistance). The advisory council meetings have also been reduced from monthly sessions to meetings every three months. Progress Energy “is not really interested in doing much more than what’s required of them, and they’re not really interested in leading on environmental issues,” Fireman declares.
National news: Scientists study bee DNA to find causes for Colony Collapse Disorder. “A research team led by entomologist May Berenbaum at the University of Illinois compared the whole genome of honeybees that came from hives that had suffered from CCD with hives that were healthy. The sick bees exhibited genetic damage that could account for the die-off, and that damage indicated that they might be afflicted with multiple viruses simultaneously,” Time magazine reported Aug. 24. To read more, click here.
GreenPeace USA joins 2009 Relay for Clean Air: On Saturday, Aug. 29, bicyclists, runners and walkers will make their way along a 100-mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway — from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to downtown Asheville. The relay ends with a march up Biltmore Ave to Firestorm Café, where the local sponsor, the Canary Coalition, will host a rally and press conference. For more info, visit www.canarycoalition.org.
— Margaret Williams