Protecting North Carolina's air, water, and quality of life
We fight to protect NC’s environment and promote solutions for a safer, healthier state. We collaborate with nearly 100 environmental groups and mobilize tens of thousands of people, like you, to pass strong policies at all levels of government.
NC’s Riparian Buffers: A Scientific Review
A survey of scientific research offers insight into the important role buffers play in keeping North Carolina waters free of nutrient pollution like nitrogen and phosphorous.
Lookup Who Represents You
Input your home address into the interactive maps below to see who your NC House and Senate decision-makers are. Created by our friends at Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation.
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Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” is the highly controversial practice of injecting millions of gallons of water and toxic chemicals into the earth in order to extract natural gas. Fracking has caused significant air, groundwater, and drinking water contamination in other states. Other problems associated with the industry include massive methane emissions (a driver of climate change); the need to dispose of millions of gallons of toxic wastewater; heavy truck traffic on small rural roads; and damage to local infrastructure. Read more.
Coal ash is the waste that is generated when power plants burn coal to produce electricity. This toxic byproduct contains heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, selenium and a number of additional carcinogens and neurotoxins. Duke Energy has stored coal ash in large, unlined pits for decades, with no protection against groundwater contamination and only earthen dams separating the toxic sludge from our state’s surface waters. Not surprisingly, coal ash pits at each of Duke Energy’s North Carolina facilities are actively leaching heavy metals into the groundwater, and disasters like the February 2014 Dan River spill could be devastating for the communities relying on our rivers for drinking water.
The clean energy industry has experienced tremendous growth in North Carolina in recent years. North Carolina is ranked among the top states in the country for solar energy and maintains a burgeoning wind energy supply chain industry. The state’s significant solar and wind potential, combined with growing developments in energy efficiency, puts North Carolina in a unique position to lead the national clean energy field. North Carolina must continue to attract these innovative businesses and ensure strong state policies that will drive our state’s leadership in clean energy and provide alternatives to fossil-fueled power sources.
Protecting Air & Water
Over the last several years, North Carolina has suffered devastating rollbacks of environmental and public health protections. Once a regional leader in environmental protection, North Carolina has lost decades worth of clean air and clean water protections. State policymakers have made significant budget cuts to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, cut back key environmental programs and weakened state standards through anti-environmental legislation. Most recently, policymakers have focused their efforts on eliminating existing environmental standards that go beyond the bare minimum required under federal law.
Outdated science and public health protections allow the frequent introduction and continued use of chemicals with serious long term health effects. Existing laws do little to inform or protect consumers. Children and pregnant women are particularly at risk through constant, low-level exposures to potentially hazardous toxics in food, air, water and consumer products.
Short-term strategies such as chemical reduction in schools and childcare facilities are essential to protect vulnerable populations, while long-term solutions are needed to reduce the toxic exposures that endanger our health. These long-term solutions include the passage of proactive state legislation and the reform of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.
Communities worldwide are beginning to experience the devastating impacts of climate change: increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, flooding, drought, wildfires and the increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. North Carolina is particularly vulnerable to climate change, and sea levels off the mid-Atlantic coast are estimated to be rising approximately three times more quickly than the global average. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is poised to adopt national climate regulations, and it is essential that North Carolina support strong standards for carbon emissions while also working with local communities to promote long-term adaptation measures.
What We Do
The NC Conservation Network supports, trains, and coordinates diverse groups and directly advocates to achieve equitable and sustainable solutions for our environment.
Our goals include:
- providing updates and environmental news to NC environmental groups;
- training activists to become more effective advocates;
- fostering healthy patterns of communication and collaboration; and
- convening and facilitating coalitions to address significant environmental issues.