Cars on highway

Three WNC counties to be removed from vehicle emissions program

As of Saturday, Dec. 1, vehicle owners in Haywood, Henderson and Rutherford counties will no longer have to submit their cars and light-duty trucks to an annual emissions inspection. Inspections remain in place for Buncombe and 21 additional counties, while the three other counties bordering Buncombe — Madison, McDowell and Yancey — have never required them.

News in brief: I-26 connector meeting, Hump Mountain, veterans train service dogs

According to the project website for the planned Interstate 26 Connector project in Asheville, the N.C. Department of Transportation has been meeting with community groups about the roadway since 1989. On Tuesday, Dec. 4, NCDOT will again convene local stakeholders. Also: a major public land acquisition in the Cherokee National Forest, and a new community service option for veterans involved with the criminal justice system.

Construction at Duke Energy's Lake Julian facility

New gas power plant to replace Duke coal facility at Lake Julian

The new facility’s planned retirement is in 2059 — 17 years after Buncombe County government’s 2042 goal of transitioning all homes and businesses to completely renewable energy. Jason Walls, Duke Energy district manager, said his company is committed to helping local governments achieve their goals but that the new plant’s construction is based on forecasts of growing energy needs.

News in brief: NCSSM raises funds for western campus, controlled burning in area

A second campus of the N.C. School of Science and Math is on tap for 2021 in Morganton, and fundraising is underway to assemble the final pieces of the puzzle to bring the plans to life. Montreat College announced a new student loan repayment program, local elected officials came out to oppose all six constitutional amendments on the ballot in the 2018 general election and a major controlled burning training exercise will take place through Friday, Nov. 9 in the area.

Prescribed burn at the Oshun Mountain Sanctuary

New publicatio­n shares benefits of intentiona­l wildfires

Craig Harper with the University of Tennessee notes that negative public perception about prescribed burning generally arises from a lack of understanding about how fire benefits the landscape. “Many people will argue for increased diversity on national forests, but they don’t want disturbance,” he says. “If you don’t have disturbance, then it is impossible to have increased diversity.”

The Collider lobby with people

[Food + Beverage] Collider conference prepares business for climate change

“It’s like the playing field that everyone’s playing on — that the economy’s playing on, that companies are playing on, that the government’s playing on — that playing field is starting to erode,” says Josh Dorfman, CEO of The Collider in downtown Asheville. “I think there’s more on the line than many people understand.”

North Carolina National Guard members receive the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award from Jordan Gillis

Asheville National Guard unit wins major environmen­tal award

On Aug. 3, Jordan Gillis, acting assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment presented N.C. National Guard Field Management Station No. 1 with the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award, given annually to just nine individuals, teams or installations from Army operations across the country.

Lincoln Hamer with trash during Swannanoa River cleanup

GemFinding leads post-flood Swannanoa River cleanups

GemFinding owner Chip Freeman hopes that the community will rally behind his last two river cleanups, taking place at Azalea Park on Saturday, Sept. 1, and Saturday, Sept. 15. “The cleanup depends on how many people we have there to tackle it,” he says. “You don’t have to come for four hours —if you pick up four or five pieces of trash, you’ve done something.”

Dogwood Alliance tour sparks conversati­on on environmen­tal justice

In collaboration with the Sierra Club, New Alpha Community Development Corporation and Kingdom Living Temple, Dogwood Alliance is traveling across eight southern states to engage vulnerable communities and build solidarity around climate crises. Emily Zucchino with Dogwood Alliance says the event will tie the community’s poverty and gentrification issues together with the greater environmental context.