The Trump administration has proposed opening much of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans off the U.S. coast to offshore oil and gas drilling. The onshore infrastructure that is needed to support expanded offshore drilling poses dangers to the environment, communities and public health.
Offshore drilling requires a supporting network onshore, including pipelines to deliver oil and gas to refineries or distribution networks; refineries to produce gasoline and other petroleum products; ports for sending equipment and maintenance boats to offshore rigs; and waste disposal facilities.
Onshore infrastructure and activities that support offshore drilling create multiple risks to public health and the environment, including air pollution, groundwater contamination and oil spills.
You toss your plastic water bottle in a recycling bin after coming home from a trip to the beach, hoping the plastic from that bottle will be in next year’s plastic bottle, right? It most likely will not. Currently, plastic can only be re-manufactured a limited number of times, at best into a lower quality product because it degrades each time it is recycled. The value of recycled plastic may be low enough that your bottle is instead burned in an incinerator or dumped into a landfill. A few years ago, that plastic might have been sold to China or another foreign nation. However, over the last few years, countries across the Pacific are putting restrictions on importing U.S. waste. Without these export markets, the U.S. recycling industry is in serious trouble, as exemplified by your plastic bottle’s likely journey to a landfill or incinerator. Of course, using a reusable water bottle would have avoided this issue, and for that reason, reduction and reuse strategies are preferable to recycling, even when recycling works. This report dicusses the state of recycling in North Carolina and the soultions that are available.
The Clean Water Act, adopted in 1972 with overwhelming bi-partisan support, had the farsighted and righteous goal of making all our waterways safe for swimming. Yet 46 years later, all too often, Americans visiting their favorite beach are met by an advisory warning that the water is unsafe for swimming. Even worse, in recent years millions of Americans have been sickened by swimming in contaminated water.
Over the last decade, clean energy has grown by leaps and bounds. Technologies that can help America shift away from fossil fuels — like solar panels, wind turbines, LED light bulbs, energy storage and electric cars — have gone from novelties to core features of the nation's energy landscape.
Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.