Power plants continue to release large amounts of toxic pollutants, including mercury, into our air. In 2010, two-thirds of all airborne mercury pollution in the United States came from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants. In other words, power plants generate more airborne mercury pollution than all other industrial sources combined.
Charlotte–The Charlotte area has had more unhealthy air days in 2011 than all but seven other cities nationwide, according to a new Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center report released today at Plaza Presbyterian Weekday School in Plaza-Midwood. The analysis, Danger in the Air: Unhealthy Air Days in 2010 and 2011, also showed that under the more protective smog standard President Obama delayed early this month, the number of days officially considered unhealthy to breathe in Charlotte could more than double.
In the long debate over management of the outer continental shelf (OCS), the oil industry and some policy makers have claimed that our tax base and coastal jobs rely on expanding oil and gas drilling to new places. However, one set of issues –-critical to healthy oceans-- that has largely been ignored in this debate is the potential economic losses that new offshore drilling creates for our existing coastal economies and the potential for damage to treasured coasts and marine resources. This report makes it clear in dollars and cents that our clean beaches, coasts and oceans are worth too much to risk another drilling disaster like BP’s oil spill in the Gulf.
Solar power can curb pollution, protecting public health and North Carolina’s environment. It can also drive North Carolina’s economy forward – creating jobs that can’t be outsourced, and launching new companies to manufacture and install solar power equipment. This report quantifies the benefits of developing North Carolina’s solar resources on a trajectory to supply 14 percent of the state’s electricity consumption by the year 2030.
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.