North Carolina

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 8.41.23 PM

A Victorious Year Against Offshore Drilling along East Coast – Thanks to a Grassroots Movement

by Claire Douglass, Campaign Director for Climate and Energy, Oceana Category:

Last week, the Obama administration formally denied all pending seismic airgun blasting permits in the Atlantic, favoring local voices over oil interests in a move that goes against the grain of our historically fossil fuel dependent society and solidifies the path to a cleaner, more sustainable renewable energy future. Although in recent months groups have been making headway, the fight against offshore drilling and exploration in the Atlantic certainly started as a seemingly losing battle. In 2008, the Bush administration lifted a longstanding moratorium on offshore drilling in the Atlantic. Done quietly, most East Coast communities had no idea their waters were open to the prospect of offshore drilling, and up until 2014, the only people privy to proposed drilling plans were those who supported it. Virtually unopposed, the government proceeded with plans to open up the Atlantic to offshore drilling – plans that surely would have gone smoothly, except for one little hitch: people like you. In 2014, Oceana planted the seeds of a grassroots movement that would eventually sweep across the East Coast. It all started... read more +


The “Fire Forests” of the southeast need fire the way rain forests need rain.


Fire and the Longleaf Pines of the Southern US: A Bright Future for a Magical Forest

by Angie Carl, SE Coastal Plain Stewardship & Fire Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy Category: ,

The longleaf pine forests of the southern US have a unique and subtle beauty. The secret to this beauty is fire. The “Fire Forests” of the southeast need fire the way rain forests need rain. Most of the plants and animals here have adapted to years of fires that occurred as frequently as every one to five years, through lightning and Native American burning. Without these fires the woods become overgrown, shading out the natural systems and rare plants that therefore can no longer survive. I have been leading burns in the forests of southeast North Carolina for 13 years. They are some of the most beautiful and difficult forest in which to burn. I do it because the health of our unique forests – an amazing array of carnivorous plants, orchids, grasses, birds, bears, bobcats, and many other animals depends on it. A dramatic fact is that the Venus Flytrap, which now only grows here naturally, would die off forever if we ceased to burn. Recently The Nature Conservancy (TNC) purchased a new tract in Brunswick County,... read more +


An Ode to the Act of Giving Thanks to Dosher Memorial Hospital Grant from Louis Bacon’s Orton Foundation


On December 16, 2016, team members from The Orton Foundation, the North Carolina affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation, visited Dosher Memorial Hospital to deliver a $30,000 contribution for the hospital’s Emergency Department, which treats more than 13,000 patients per year. During the check presentation, Dr. Joseph P. Hatem MD, MPH, gave a kind and poignant speech about the act of giving, the ripple effect of hope, and the spirit of the holidays. Dr. Hatem has graciously agreed to let us publish his wonderful remarks here in their entirety.  On behalf of the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and staff of the J. Arthur Dosher Memorial Hospital Emergency Department, I would like to thank the Orton Foundation, Mr. Louis Bacon, Mr. Dillon Epp [Property and Wildlife Manager, Orton Plantation Holding LLC], and Ms. Ann Colley [Executive Direction and Vice President, The Moore Charitable Foundation], for the continued gift of faith they have in our hospital. Again to put this into perspective, the original hospital cost $30,000 to build in 1928, with Brunswick County Hospital Opening, June 2, 1930. James B. Duke and The Duke Endowment... read more +


In Wilmington, NC and Everywhere: Economic Development Is More Than Just Growth

by Scott Johnson, Chairman, Cape Fear Economic Development Council Category:

The following blog post is the second entry of a series in Insights and reflects the opinion of the Cape Fear Economic Development Council. Written by Chairman Scott Johnson in support of adopting the improved community-focused Industrial Special Use Permit (SUP), it advocates for clean and responsible economic growth for New Hanover County. Cities and towns recognize the need to pursue economic growth and adopt policies and programs, including incentives, that are designed to enhance economic development opportunities. Most residents understand there is a relationship between the successful function of the local economy and the quality of life they enjoy. They also know that many community services, including public schools, are often defined by the amount of local taxes collected. But how we implement and define what economic growth means to us will be the tipping point for how an older industrial area, such as ours, will remake and rewrite the story of the power of economic innovation. Historic concepts of economic growth in American cities like Wilmington can be viewed in many ways. One view has been that all... read more +

Dusk on the Cape Fear: Wilmington, N.C.

Using the Triple-Bottom Line to Define Best Practice Resource Management in the Cape Fear

by Scott Johnson, Chairman, Cape Fear Economic Development Council Category: ,

The North Carolina Coastal Federation is leading the My Community, My Voice Campaign to engage citizens and business leaders to help adopt the improved community-focused Industrial Special Use Permit (SUP), which advocates for clean and responsible economic growth for New Hanover County. The vote is in the fall; as such, this blog will feature articles and thoughts from business leaders who are in support of this important initiative.  The following entry is the first of a series in Insights and reflects the opinion of the Cape Fear Economic Development Council, written by Chairman Scott Johnson. The Cape Fear Economic Development Council (CFEDC) is a nonprofit 501c3 based in Wilmington. For the last eight years we have explored new concepts for addressing our region’s economic growth strategies, while helping identify more suitable and practical alternatives in economic development, land use, energy use and environmental management. CFEDC is neither a think tank nor an academic endeavor, but a group of citizens who believe by using the “triple bottom line” framework (people, profit, planet) to define best practices in land and resource management, we... read more +


Winning Protections from Offshore Drilling, but Atlantic Still Threatened by Seismic Airgun Blasting

by Claire Douglass, Campaign Director for Climate and Energy, Oceana Category:

After years of hard work and loyalty to the fight against offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, Oceana and citizens along the East Coast have won a historic victory. This March, the Obama administration announced its decision to remove the Atlantic from its oil and gas leasing plan. It was not only a huge day for the oceans, but also for democracy. By yielding to the overwhelming opposition from East Coast communities, President Obama proved that good old-fashioned grassroots organizing makes all the difference. It was not easy, and at first, it was a lonesome fight. Most cast it off as a losing battle, but Oceana jumped in when few other groups would take the plunge to fight Atlantic drilling. In 2008, the Bush administration lifted a longstanding moratorium on offshore drilling in the Atlantic. Done quietly, most East Coast communities had no idea their waters were vulnerable to the prospect of offshore drilling. Virtually unchallenged, President Obama proceeded with the past administration’s plans to re-open the Atlantic. They didn’t see what was coming next. Years ago, Oceana... read more +

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of the Waterkeeper Alliance

Robert F. Kennedy, Junior, Founder and President of the Waterkeeper Alliance


CoastLine: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on the Origin of CAFOs, Environmental Justice

Category: ,

Robert F. Kennedy, Junior is Founder and President of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization of nearly 300 waterkeepers spanning the globe.  He serves as Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper, is a Clinical Professor and Supervising Attorney at Pace University School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic, and he is co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio. He came to Wilmington, North Carolina for the annual conference of The Waterkeeper Alliance.  There he sat down with Rachel Lewis Hilburn, News Director and Host of CoastLine, to discuss the origins of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), and environmental justice – issues that are inextricably intertwined. Here is the transcript of that interview, first published here and available as an audio file. RLH:  Robert Kennedy, your journey as a champion of clean waterways began on the Hudson River.  For that work, you were named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Planet. You’ve held that up as an international model of ecosystem protection.  How is it that?  What changes were you able to make in New York? Robert F. Kennedy Jr.:  Well, It... read more +

A CAFO stores toxic hog waste in an open pit.

Environmental Injustice is Toxic

by Marc Yaggi Category: ,

Imagine a world where many times when you walked out your front door, you immediately were accosted by the overwhelming stench of animal waste.  Imagine a world where you couldn’t invite friends to your home for fear their eyes and throats would burn from the fetid stench.  Imagine a world where your health, and the health of your family, was at risk every day because the air you are breathing is saturated with toxic chemicals and bacteria. This world is a reality for people like Elsie Herring, who lives in rural North Carolina near a hog factory farm where she has endured a form of discrimination that rarely draws much attention.  Polluting industries and industrial-waste sites often are located in low-income communities, especially communities of color that offer the least political resistance. These massive factory farms generate enormous amounts of untreated animal waste, which is stored in giant cesspools and sprayed on fields until they are so saturated that the waste runs off and pollutes nearby streams and rivers – streams and rivers that local communities use for... read more +

The U.S. Atlantic waters are home to fragile populations like the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most endangered species on the planet with only about 500 individuals still alive.

Victory for U.S. Oceans: Obama Administration Protects East Coast from Offshore Drilling

by Andrew Sharpless, CEO & Ted Danson, Board of Directors - Oceana Category: ,

Here’s some great news: the United States Government has announced it will remove the Atlantic Ocean from its five-year plan for oil and gas development. This is an important victory for the U.S. Oceans. Our organization, Oceana, has campaigned against proposals to drill for oil in the Atlantic since 2009. We and our allies helped organize citizens from 110 East Coast municipalities and helped get more than 100 members of Congress, 700 state and local elected officials and 1,100 business interests to join the effort. This week, we learned that the Obama Administration listened and, as a result, will protect the Atlantic coast from the dangers of offshore drilling activity. In its newly proposed five-year program for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has removed the Atlantic Ocean for leasing from 2017 to 2022. This announcement will help protect marine life. East Coast fisheries also provide cod and haddock, two of the most commonly-caught fish in an $11.8 billion Atlantic fishing industry. Now, these creatures and more will not... read more +

Opponents organize a protest against Titan America's planned cement plant near Wilmington. Photo: N.C. Coastal Federation

Todd Miller: In North Carolina, Plenty Remains to Be Done As Titan Calls It Quits

by Todd Miller, Executive Director, North Carolina Coastal Federation Category:

Opponents organize a protest against Titan America’s planned cement plant near Wilmington. Proof-positive that ordinary people can wage extraordinary campaigns to protect their quality of life and environment – plus a call to action to be ever-vigilant about protecting the waterways and coasts we love. Photo: N.C. Coastal Federation.  Eight years ago a business lobbyist who had formerly worked for then N.C. Governor Mike Easley called just as I was leaving the office for the day. He said he wanted to give me a “heads-up” that a major new industry was about to announce plans to locate in Wilmington, and that it would be a wonderful economic stimulus for southeastern N.C. He assured me that the company would be a good coastal steward, and encouraged the North Carolina Coastal Federation to welcome the project. The next day Titan America, a Greek international conglomerate, announced its plans to build one of the nation’s largest cement kilns and limestone mines next to the Northeast Cape Fear River just upstream of downtown Wilmington. Secret meetings with state and county leaders had already “cemented”... read more +