10 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / October Edition


Calendar of Events –


N.C. Festival by the Sea
October 30th – 31st
Holden Beach, NC
For more information » click here


Events
TDA - logo
Discover a wide range of things to do in the Brunswick Islands for an experience that goes beyond the beach.
For more information » click here


Calendar of Events Island –


Trick-or-Treat at Town Hall
Children may come by Town Hall on Friday, October 29th to trick-or-treat from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Try to figure out what monster or ghoul is behind our disguises.  

Halloween Candy Drop
The Town will conduct a drive thru candy drop on Friday evening, October 29th from 4:30- 6:30 p.m. Participants should turn up Rothschild and then plan to take a left on Brunswick to exit. Traffic will not be allowed to turn right toward the bridge due to the festival set-up. Call (910) 842-6488 to register.



Turkey Trot
The Town of Holden Beach will hold its annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, November 25th at 8 a.m. Registration is required by calling (910) 842-6488. Please bring a canned food item to donate to a local food bank.


Tree Lighting
The Town of Holden Beach will hold its annual tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 3, 2021 at 6 p.m.  


Parks & Recreation / Programs & Events
For more information » click here


Reminders –



Solid Waste Pick-Up Schedule

GFL Environmental change in service, trash pickup will be once a week. Trash collection goes back to Tuesdays only.

 

Please note:
. • Trash carts must be at the street by 6:00 a.m. on the pickup day
. • BAG the trash before putting it in the cart
. • Carts will be rolled back to the front of the house


Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule – starting October once a week

Recyclingstarting October every other week


Yard debris is collected on the second (2nd) and fourth (4th) Fridays during the months of October, November, and December. Yard debris needs to be secured in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a maximum length not to exceed five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds in weight. Each residence is allowed a total of ten (10) items, which can include a combination of bundles of brush and limbs meeting the required length and weight and/ or biodegradable bags. No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.


Curbside Recycling
GFL environmental is now offering curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. The service cost is $93.29 annually paid in advance to the Town of Holden Beach and consists of a ninety-six (96) gallon cart that is emptied every other week.
Curbside Recycling Application » click here
Curbside Recycling Calendar » click here

Recycling renewal form was sent, you should have gotten e-mail letter already



Trash Can Requirements – Rental Properties
GFL Environmental – trash can requirements
Ordinance 07-13, Section 50.10

Rental properties have specific number of trash cans based on number of bedrooms.
* One extra trash can
per every two bedrooms
.

.
§ 50.08 RENTAL HOMES.

(A) Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in abnormally large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like).


Building Numbers
Ocean front homes are required to have house numbers visible from the beach strand.
Please call Planning and Inspections Department at 910.842.6080 with any questions.

§157.087 BUILDING NUMBERS.

(A) The correct street number shall be clearly visible from the street on all buildings. Numbers shall be block letters, not script, and of a color clearly in contrast with that of the building and shall be a minimum of six inches in height.

(B) Beach front buildings will also have clearly visible house numbers from the strand side meeting the above criteria on size, contrast, etc. Placement shall be on vertical column supporting deck(s) or deck roof on the primary structure. For buildings with a setback of over 300 feet from the first dune line, a vertical post shall be erected aside the walkway with house numbers affixed. In all cases the numbers must be clearly visible from the strand. Other placements may be acceptable with approval of the Building Inspector.



BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, November 16th
.


News from Town of Holden Beach
The town sends out emails of events, news, agendas, notifications and emergency information. If you would like to be added to their mailing list, please go to their web site to complete your subscription to the Holden Beach E-Newsletter.
For more information » click here


Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various boards and committees. If you are interested in serving, please fill out a resume form and submit it to heather@hbtownhall.com.



Elevator - CRElevators
Most states mandate that elevator systems be tested and inspected annually. Currently the state of North Carolina does not require annual inspections to be performed on all elevator systems. The use of unsafe and defective lifting devices imposes a substantial probability of serious and preventable injury to your family and guests. It is in the owner’s best interest to minimize injuries and liability by scheduling an annual safety inspection to ensure the safe operation of their elevator system.


Waupaca Elevator Recalls to Inspect Elevators Due to Injury Hazard

Hazard:
The elevator cab can fall unexpectedly to the bottom of the elevator shaft and abruptly stop, posing an injury hazard to consumers in the elevator cab.

Consumer Contact:
Waupaca Elevator toll-free at 833-850-7981 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, e-mail at info@WaupacaElevator.com or online at www.WaupacaElevator.com and click on Recall Information for more information.


Library
If you need something to keep you busy in this colder weather, make sure to visit the island library. The library is in the upstairs of Holden Beach Town Hall. All the books were donated. Patrons of the library don’t have to check out a book; they are on the honor system to return it.



Neighborhood Watch –

Need to look out for each other
Call 911 if you see or hear anything suspicious
Fill out Keep Check Request Form if you will be out of town
• Submit completed Property Registration Form
• Pickup copy of Protecting Your Home


Coronavirus


COVID/State of Emergency – Timeline

08/06/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 225 which is extending certain health and human services provisions in previous Executive Orders and delegations of authority. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

07/29/21
The state is presently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 spread, principally among those who are unvaccinated. The state’s key COVID-19 metrics suggest some measures must remain active to address and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 224 which is an extension to the end of August of COVID-19 measures to reflect the public health recommendations. Click here
to view the Executive Order details.

06/11/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 220 which is an extension to the end of July of COVID-19 measures to reflect the public health recommendations. Click here
to view the Executive Order details.

05/14/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 215 which lifts COVID-19 restrictions to reflect new public health recommendations. The order ended gathering limits, social distancing requirements in all settings, and drops indoor mask requirements for most settings.
Returning the state to almost normal operations after 15 months marked by COVID-19 lockdowns and limits. Click here
to view the Executive Order details.

04/28/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 209 which removes the outdoor face covering requirement, relaxes restrictions on gatherings and extends the capacity and social distancing measures of Executive Order 204. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

03/23/21
It’s been just over a year since North Carolina went into the Covid-19 shutdown, and subsequent restrictions from Gov. Roy Cooper have followed. Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 204 which will roll back some of them, a further easing of restrictions on maximum capacity limits for many businesses and entertainment venues. Click here to view the Executive Order details.


Upon Further Review –


Brunswick County restaurant significantly damaged by fire
A fire early Tuesday morning caused significant damage to a Supply restaurant. Crews from the Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department responded to Ginny’s Chicken House, located at 3258 Holden Beach Road near Holden Beach, around 3:20 a.m. Firefighters found a fire on the front deck of the restaurant, according to Chief Douglas Todd. “Responding crews brought the fire under control within six minutes,” Todd said. No one was injured as a result of the fire. Its cause is under investigation by the Brunswick County Fire Marshall’s Office and Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. Owner Virginia Craig said investigators have ruled out arson and believe the fire may have been the result of discarded cigarette on the front deck. Firefighters from Civietown, and Supply Fire Departments and units from Brunswick County EMS responded to the scene to assist.
Read more » click here

Update –
Two (2) years later and all things are as they were …


Corrections & Amplifications –


National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On September 30, 2021, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 3, 2021.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on December 3, 2021.


A Second Helping
They just completed the seventeenth year of the program. For the last sixteen weeks they have collected food on Saturday mornings in front of Beach Mart; the food is distributed to the needy in Brunswick County. During this summer season, they collected 16,245 pounds of food and $2,250  in monetary donations. Their food collections have now exceeded two hundred and sixty-eight thousand (268,000) pounds of food since this program began in June of 2005. Hunger exists everywhere in this country. Thanks to the Holden Beach vacationers for donating again this year! Cash donations are gratefully accepted. One hundred percent (100%) of these cash donations are used to buy more food. You can be assured that the money will be very well spent.

Mail Donations to:
A Second Helping % Douglas Cottrell
2939 Alan Trail
Supply, NC 28462                         


Website:
http://www.secondhelping.us/


Odds & Ends –


Brunswick County tourism reaps $731.2  million for 2020
Domestic and international visitors to and within Brunswick County spent $731.2 million in 2020 in the county. This data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. While this number represents a decrease of 1.3 percent from 2019, Brunswick County moved from ninth to sixth among the state’s 100 counties in spending by visitors. “We feel very fortunate that Brunswick County did not feel the impact of  the pandemic on our area tourism to the extent that other counties did in North Carolina in 2020,” said Bonnie Cox, chairman of the Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority. “The fact that tourism remained strong in Brunswick County in 2020 was essential to the county’s overall economy.”

Impact highlights Brunswick County tourism impact highlights for 2020 include:

    • The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 4,575 in Brunswick County.
    • Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Brunswick County was $161.4 million.
    • State tax revenue generated in Brunswick County totaled $24.7 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income.
    • About $38.5 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.

These statistics come from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2020,” which can be accessed at https://partners.visitnc.com/economic-impact-studies. The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association. Statewide, visitor spending was down 32 percent to $19.96 billion compared to 2019. Tourism employment fell 26 percent to 178,685. The losses were most acutely felt in urban areas. “Despite the bad news for North Carolina as a whole, our ranking at No. 5 among states for visitation is a position of  strength for rebuilding our tourism economy,” said Visit NC director Wit Tuttell. “Given the state’s resilience and vast appeal of its natural beauty, our creative cities and our authentic experiences at every turn, we’re confident that we’ll regain what has been lost and exceed the spending records of the recent past.”

The study included the following key findings:

    • Domestic and international travelers spent $19.96 billion in North Carolina in 2020.
    • The spending marks a 32 percent decrease from the $29.22 billion spent in 2019.
    • Eighty-six of the state’s 100 counties experienced decreases in visitor spending.

Despite large losses for many, top counties for spending in 2020 were similar to previous years.

Visitors spend more than $54 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds $4.9 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $2.4 million in state taxes and $2.5 million in local taxes).
Brunswick Beacon

Shallotte, get ready to ‘Eat Mor Chiken’: Chick-fil-A opens this week
Do you love some Chick-fil-A and live in or near Shallotte? If so, you’re about to get some great news. Chick-fil-A in Shallotte will open its doors at 6 a.m. Thursday and begin serving all of your favorites on a daily basis while employing 125 full and part-time team members. The store is located at 2900 Frontage Road N.W., near the intersection of Main Street and Ocean Highway and will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. One big change: There will be no overnight stay for fans who want to take part in the traditional Chick-fil-A First 100 Grand Opening celebration and a chance for free Chick-fil-A for a year. For this opening Chick-fil-A will be surprising 100 local heroes who make an impact in Shallotte with free Chick-fil-A for a year while also donating $25,000 to Feeding America. Those funds will be distributed to partners within the greater Shallotte area to aid in the fight against hunger. North Carolina native Chris Guthrie, who started working at Chick-fi-A in High Point at the age of 15, has worked his way up through the ranks, ultimately becoming the operator in the summer of 2008. Guthrie said he is thrilled to welcome the Shallotte community into the new restaurant and serve guests great-tasting food with genuine hospitality. “With the opening of Chick-fil-A Shallotte, I look forward to building a team centered on providing exceptional service to our guests,” said Guthrie. “I hope to create and cultivate an environment where our team members and the Shallotte community feel welcomed and cared for.”
Read more »
click here


This and That –


‘A long-term dream:’ Ocean Isle Beach poised to begin construction on terminal groin after lobbying, lengthy legal battles
Leaders in Ocean Isle Beach have been working for years to preserve the coastline and stave of beach erosion at the end of the island. The journey appears to be coming to a close after nearly 20 years of legislative work and lawsuits. Crews will begin work on their terminal groin project as soon as the environmental window opens up November 16. The groin essentially traps the sand to better secure the beachfront. Some sand will still be able to wash around the groin, but the structure aims to be a long-term solution to the erosion that’s tormented the east end of the island for ages. Storms and the advancing shoreline have been taking back homes and roads and disrupting utility lines for some time now. Nothing remains of the home Mayor Debbie Smith built on Third Street back in the 1980′s. Feet away from what
s left of the road sits massive piles of sandbags. Third Street is now oceanfront, and First and Second Street are no more. When the house was first built, there were two to three rows of homes in front, until the ocean began to inundate the properties. Smith sold the home decades before a storm ultimately knocked it off the sandbags supporting the structure but kept watch as it was reduced to debris and cleared away piece by piece. “It’s pretty shocking. It’s actually kind of a tourist attraction. When I bring my family over, I show them. I’m worried it might affect my house someday,” said island resident Colin Blair. A remedy isn’t far away though — US Army Corps of Engineers beach renourishment and the terminal groin construction beginning in a matter of weeks. “The terminal groin the town is working on, it hopefully is a long-term solution. It will stabilize the end of the island and the sand we pump as part of this job will stay there longer,” said USACE Project engineer Brennan Dooley. “It’s a great partnership.” The entire product is expected to cost $11 million, which the town is paying for with accommodations tax money it has saved over the years. The mayor says they’ve been able to save the money slowly over the years because the process to bring the groin to fruition has taken so long. The town had to first change the law to allow the groin. After the new law passed, it secured the necessary permits from USACE, CAMA and wildlife, and then was hit by a lawsuit the week it planned to open construction bids. Ultimately, the town won the lawsuit that aimed to take the project permits, but the ruling was appealed twice and went to both the state and federal court. Mayor Debbie Smith, though says the town’s elected leaders never stopped pushing. “These property owners — this town — deserve to try and help themselves, to save infrastructure, to save our water lines, our sewer lines. We’ve moved two to three manholes after storms — that shouldn’t happen,” said Smith. “It’s the beginning of a long-term dream so I’m very optimistic that it’s going to make a positive impact on the last mile or better of Ocean Isle Beach.”
Read more » click here

Ocean Isle Beach terminal groin, sand projects set to begin
Two major beachfront projects to mitigate erosion and beef up the east end of Ocean Isle Beach’s shore are expected to be underway next month. Once the environmental window for dredging and beach nourishment activities opens Nov. 16, contractors are set to begin building a terminal groin, a wall-like structure built perpendicular to shore. At the same time, a joint federal project will kick off to beef up the east end of the town’s ocean shoreline. “We do hope to see activity on the beach the middle of November,” said Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith. Though the two projects were initiated separately, the timing is such that they will be done together. Ocean Isle Beach had the necessary federal and state permits by February 2017 to build a 1,050-foot terminal groin, 300 feet of which will be a sheet-pile, shore-anchorage section. In August that year, the National Audubon Society filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of the project. A three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed last March a lower court’s decision that the Corps fairly considered the alternatives included in an environmental impact statement examining the project. About two months prior to that ruling, Congress approved the Fiscal Year 2021 Work Plan for the Army Civil Works program. That approval included funding for a Coastal Storm Risk Management, or CSRM, project. Federal funds cover 65% of the project costs, with the town and state matching the remaining 35%.
According to information on the town’s website, Ocean Isle Beach submitted the 35% share of $3,045,000 to the Corps and requested the state reimburse half of that amount. Last month, the Corps awarded a $6,675,000 contract to Norfolk Dredging Co. to dredge from a borrow area within Shallotte Inlet and place the dredged material at the far-east end of the island. An estimated 700,000 cubic yards of sand is anticipated to be placed on about 1.5 miles of the easternmost beachfront, according to Dave Connolly, public affairs chief of the Corps’ Wilmington district. Ocean Isle’s ocean shoreline is about 5.5 miles long. “The work will be completed simultaneously, and it is likely the town’s contractor for the groin will start work on the groin and our contractor will start and pump sand behind the groin and fill out the template,” Connolly said in an email response to Coastal Review. “This portion of work behind the groin is a contract option fully funded by the town – we are doing this work for them through an Additional Work Memorandum of Agreement.” The cost to the town, per that agreement, is an estimated $2.45 million and does not include the cost of constructing the terminal groin, according to information provided on the town’s website. Of the two bids the town received in September to build the terminal groin, Coastal Design and Construction Inc. of Virginia submitted the lowest at about $11.4 million. Coastal Protection Engineering, the Wilmington firm the town hired to oversee the project, recommended Ocean Isle award the contract to the low bidder contingent upon the town receiving a North Carolina Coastal Area Management Act, or CAMA, major permit modification. The state has granted the permit modification extending the deadline of the completion of the terminal groin from March 31 to April 30, 2022. Smith said the request for an extension was made in the event of possible weather-related or equipment-related issues that could push back work on the terminal groin. “Hopefully with everybody out there it will move quickly,” she said. A news release earlier this month from the Wilmington District described how, by the end of the project, “the east end of the island will look drastically different and provide added benefits toward recreation, erosion protection and a potential habitat for sea turtles and nesting birds.” Smith said that opting to have the Corps build up the beach behind the terminal groin cuts down on costs. “It will save the town money on the terminal groin project because it will save some on the mobilization cost of the dredge,” she said. Smith said she did not know the specific cost savings, adding, “It’s substantial money.” The terminal groin is designed to reduce the erosion that has for years eaten away at the east end of the island, where a wall of sandbags 15 feet tall and some 1,500 feet long barricades the ocean from private properties, roads and public utilities. “Our engineer and modeling reports do say that the terminal groin should extend the life of the (CSRM) project,” Smith said. “How many years we don’t know for sure.” Dredging for the Coastal Storm Risk Management project is expected to end March 31, 2022.
Read more » click here

Oak Island council OKs $17.5-million sand contract
Oak Island Town Council has approved a $17.5-million contract with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock to put sand along the western portions of the shore this winter. Council also asked that managers see if the contractor could start on the west end of the beach, where some houses are currently threatened by erosion and protected mainly by giant sandbags. The original work schedule has the contractor starting at just east of Middleton Avenue, where the 2020-2020 winter project ended, working to about 69th Place West. It will add 658,000 cubic yards of material to a shore badly battered by Hurricane Florence. The area is now protected only by an emergency dune that was created by pushing sand landward at low tide. During high tide, most of the area currently has no dry sand beach.
The base contract will put sand from Jay Bird Shoals along about four miles of shoreline and includes grading and the addition of post and rope dune crossovers for beachgoers. Planting native beach grasses or sea oats will be a separate contract, estimated at $300,000. The town’s contribution to the project is $6.09 million, with the state picking up $3.8 million from two separate funds and the Federal Emergency Management Agency paying $7.54 million. Oak Island has agreed to a $10-million special obligation bond to pay most of the state and federal share. Finance Director David Hatten said at the special October 1 meeting that new rules require communities to pay disaster assistance costs up-front, but he expected reimbursement rapidly. Work is scheduled to begin after the close of sea turtle nesting and hatching in November and continue until the end of March. Council noted that the most recent project last winter, also conducted by Great Lakes, went past original deadlines, and required two extensions by regulators and the addition of a second dredge at the 11th hour. An engineer for Moffatt & Nichol acknowledged the problem and said that the penalty for failure to meet deadlines had increased in the current contract from $4,000 to $5,000 a day. The finish date also allows some leeway, he said. The project will employ one or more hopper dredges to pull sand from Jay Bird Shoals and, if necessary, the Central Reach, a partially mined cache of beach-quality sand off the west side of Oak Island that was used several years ago by neighboring Holden Beach. Hopper dredges are like big shovels that grab the sand and move it near shore. The previous operation, like the usual Wilmington Harbor dredging every two years, employed a hydraulic cutter-head suction dredge, which basically sucks sand from the seabed and pipes a sand-water slurry up to several miles away. Hopper dredges tend to have fewer breakdowns and delays, the engineer said. The town also put two add-on projects for later consideration, depending on conditions, funding, and the availability of sand once crews mobilize. One add-on would put another 224,000 cubic yards of sand on the east end of the project at a cost of $3.35 million. The other alternative would add sand to the west end at around 54th Place West at a cost of $4 million. The town and contractor will negotiate these add-ons depending on several factors, including the availability of sand, funding, and timing. The bigger question facing town leaders is whether and how to engage in a long-term effort to protect all beachfront properties from storms expected every 10 or 25 years. This, engineers said, could cost roughly $40-million and would require $32-million worth of maintenance every six years. Oak Island’s annual general fund government budget is less than $12 million. These projects envision putting 1.7 million to 2.1-million cubic yards of sand along the beach. For comparison, a typical dump truck holds about 10 cubic yards. The town has established municipal service districts for sand, but the current assessment is zero. Council has agreed to address the matter again in January 2022, after the annual budget planning retreat. The town has updated its beach renourishment web pages for the public. They are available at www.oakislandnc.com/sand.
Read more » click here


Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Health Care Heroes: Volunteer
Honors volunteers at a health care provider or other health-related organization who are considered exemplary by people within those organizations.

 

SUSAN GIBBLE
Title: Physician assistant (retired)


What the nominator said:
“Susan Gibble, PA, was in private practice with her husband, Dr. Timothy Gibble, at Atlantic Internal Medicine in Brunswick County from 1986 until she retired, and the practice was sold in 2016. Susan dedicated her life to the field of medicine and healing while working full time and raising her two sons. She made a lifetime commitment to improve the health of her community, working 50+ hours a week in a career that she truly loved and gave her heart and soul to her patients and community. She would often share her private cell phone number so her patients could reach her after hours with a phone call or a text with a worry or concern for themselves or for a loved one. While working full time, Gibble was the president of the Brunswick County Heart Association from 1987-1991 in addition to serving on the board of Brunswick Family Assistance from 1987-1993. She also volunteered with the N.C. Baptist Medical team devoting her time to offer mobile medical exams for those without access to health care in Brunswick County. Another extension to her volunteer service has been as a three-term member of the Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center Foundation board where she currently serves as the secretary and an active member of its Governance Committee.”

Read more » click here


Watch out for deer
NCDOT warns motorists
across North Carolina to stay alert for deer now that fall has arrived. Every year during late autumn, auto and body shops across the region brace for a bumper crop of business, comprised of an influx of cars with damage from collisions with deer. Beginning in October, roads across the state become hazardous as North Carolina’s deer population fans out, lurking on highway shoulders in search of food and potential mates. It’s the deadliest time of the year for deer, which also pose a particular danger to motorists. Nearly half of vehicle accidents involving white-tail deer occur from October to December. Deer accidents typically begin rising in October, peak in November and begin dropping off after December, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Deer are crepuscular mammals, meaning they’re most active at dawn and dusk – which, following the onset of daylight savings time, places them near roads and byways precisely when large numbers of residents are commuting to and from work.

Report: Animal-related crashes on the rise in North Carolina
The frequency of animal-vehicle crashes has increased considerably from the year before, according to a report. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) said there was a total of 20,331 animal-involved crashes in 2019, an increase of more than 2,300 from 2018. Officials said deer account for about 90% of all animal-related crashes. The increase in incidents could be attributed to growth in the state, with more drivers on the road and more development. State officials warn that North Carolina is entering the three worst months of the year for animal-related crashes, with October, November, and December accounting for half of the annual total over the past three years. The NCDOT Transportation Mobility and Safety Division study shows animal-related crashes have killed five people, injured more than 2,800 others, and caused nearly $156.9 million in property damage over those three years. For the 17th year in a row, Wake County leads the rest of the state for animal collisions with 1,023 in 2019. The NCDOT says far western counties have the lowest numbers because they have the fewest drivers and roads. Graham County recorded just five animal collisions and has the bottom spot for the fifth year in a row.

NCDOT has some helpful tips for motorists in regard to deer-vehicle crashes:

    • Although it does not decrease the risk of being in a crash, wearing a seat belt gives you a better chance of avoiding or minimizing injuries if you hit a deer or other animal.
    • Always maintain a safe amount of distance between your vehicle and others, especially at night. If the vehicle ahead of you hits a deer, you could also become involved in the crash.
    • Slowdown in areas posted with deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening.
    • Most deer-vehicle crashes occur where deer are more likely to travel, near bridges or overpasses, railroad tracks, streams, and ditches. Be vigilant when passing through potentially risky landscapes.
    • Drive with high beams on when possible and watch for eyes reflecting in the headlights.
    • Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one deer near a road, be alert that others may be around.
    • If you see deer near a road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast.
    • Do not swerve to avoid a collision with deer. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, increasing the risk of it flipping over, veering into oncoming traffic, or overcorrecting and running off the road and causing a more serious crash.

Officials say the most crashes occur between 6 p.m. and midnight, accounting for about 45% of the overall total. With the end of daylight savings time at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, the time shift increases the chance of deer being by roadways when drivers are traveling in the dark, especially for their evening commute. If your vehicle does strike a deer, officials say do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can be dangerous or further injure itself. Get your vehicle off the road if possible and call 911.
Read more » click here

NCDOT: Vehicle-animal crashes on the rise statewide, Brunswick in top 10
Animal-vehicle collisions have increased across North Carolina, according to a new report released by the N.C. Department of Transportation Monday. Brunswick County is ranked sixth out of the state’s 100 counties for animal-vehicle collisions between 2017 and 2019. These types of collisions have increased in the county by 27% since 2012, with 480 crashes last year, according to the report.

Animal collisions are up statewide due to increased development, which pushes animals out of their habitats, according to NCDOT. Deer make up the majority (90%) of animal-vehicle collisions. Statewide, these crashes have killed five people, injured more than 2,800, and caused more than $156 million in property damage between 2017 and 2019. Collisions are known to increase during the last three months of the year, according to NCDOT, because crashes in this timeframe tend to make up half the annual total. Pender County ranks 16th with 331 animal crashes last year, and New Hanover County ranks 69th with 85 crashes on the state’s list. The state’s westernmost counties tend to have the least amount of animal crashes due to sparser populations and roads. Almost a majority of crashes occur between 6 p.m. and midnight. The end of Daylight Savings on Nov. 1 increases the chance of deer being hit on the roadways as more drivers travel in the dark, according to NCDOT.

Below are tips NCDOT provided drivers to protect themselves from animal collisions:

    • Wear a seatbelt
    • Keep a safe distance between vehicles
    • Drive slow in areas with posted deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas near dusk and night.
    • Be mindful while driving near areas where deer are more likely to travel, including near bridges, overpasses, railroad tracks, streams, and ditches.
    • When possible, drive with high beams on and look out for eyes reflected in the headlights
    • Look out for other deer when one is spotted; deer often travel in groups
    • Blow the horn with a long blast if you spot a deer near the road.
    • Do not swerve your vehicle to avoid colliding with a deer.
    • If you do strike a deer with your vehicle, try to get your vehicle off the road, call 911, and don’t touch the animal. Injured or wounded deer can further injure itself or others.

Read more » click here


Hot Button Issues

Subjects that are important to people and about which they have strong opinions


..
Climate
For more information » click here

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear.


.

Flood Insurance Program
For more information » click here
.


National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On September 30, 2021, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 3, 2021.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on December 3, 2021


New National Flood Insurance Program premiums coming Oct. 1.
Will yours increase?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s historic recalculation of flood insurance premiums will go into effect Oct. 1, and approximately 5 million policyholders nationwide will see changes in the coming year. FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0 has been hailed as positive in that flood insurance premiums will now accurately reflect the real cost of flooding. For years, the National Flood Insurance Program has subsidized flood insurance by calculating premiums based on flood zone maps, and not individual, present-day structure risk. Some homeowners have been paying far less than their fair share, while others have been paying much more. Risk Rating 2.0 is meant to correct that by assessing a building’s actuarial flood risk. But there’s national concern that more than 3 million people will see their premiums increase as a result – and rightfully so based on the risk of flooding. Homeowners less likely to be able to weather an unexpected increase in their housing costs, like the middle class and low-income homeowners, could, in turn, be hurt by the policy change. More than 1.5 million will be lucky and see premium decreases. “Conscious of the far-reaching economic impacts COVID-19 has had on the nation and existing policyholders,” FEMA says, the agency is taking a phased approach to rolling out the new rates. New policies beginning Oct. 1 will be subject to the new methodology, and existing policyholders eligible for renewal will be able to take advantage of immediate decreases in their premiums. On April 1, 2022, all remaining policies renewed on that date or after will be subject to the new methodology. Risk Rating 2.0 will see FEMA incorporating factors like flood frequency, multiple flood types, distance to water and property characteristics to determine a structure’s insurance premium. The agency has released numbers showing how policyholders in each state will be impacted by Risk Rating 2.0. Federal law requires that most rates not increase more than 18% per year.
Read more » click here

If you have flood insurance, the price is likely going up.
What that means in NC
Starting this month , anyone buying a flood insurance policy will see a shift in prices due to a set of changes the Federal Emergency Management Agency has called Risk Rating 2.0. “The way that the rates are actually set is long overdue for an overhaul and has not been updated in decades, so Risk Rating 2.0 really brings the whole insurance system into the 21st century with updates that are based on more granular data about an individual property,” Laura Lightbody, director of The Pew Charitable Trust’s flood-prepared communities initiative, told The News & Observer. FEMA has touted Risk Rating 2.0 as marking a significant shift in how flood insurance premiums are set by accounting for a number of property-specific factors instead of setting prices solely based on the zone where a property sits. The federal agency oversees the National Flood Insurance Program, pricing flood insurance and also deciding which property owners need to purchase it in order to secure a federally backed mortgage. “Policyholders with lower-value homes that have been paying more than they should, they will no longer bear the cost for the policyholders with higher-value homes who have been paying less than they should. Risk Rating 2.0 fixes this injustice,” David Maurstad, the National Flood Insurance Program’s senior executive, said on a recent press call. The NFIP has historically been deeply in debt due to massive losses from storms like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey. And losses are likely to mount as climate change continues to exacerbate natural hazards like hurricanes and heavy rainfall. Flood insurance is typically not covered by homeowners’ policies. New policies purchased after Oct. 1 are subject to the changes. Any existing policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, will be impacted by the changes.
How is FEMA changing its formula?
Flood insurance rates have historically been based on whether a property sat in a specific zone. Rates were largely based on how flood-prone FEMA deemed that zone. Now, FEMA will consider such factors as the frequency of floods, how far a property is from water and how flooding is caused. The program will also consider information like whether a property is elevated and how much it would cost to rebuild. “Your policy is now going to be property specific. It’s going to be tailored exactly to the location and the characteristics of your house, and so the prices are going to change to reflect that additional information,” said Miyuki Hino, a UNC-Chapel Hill professor of land use and environmental planning. Steve Garrett, North Carolina’s National Flood Insurance Program coordinator, said that historically a property on the edge of a flood map would be paying the same rate as one that was much closer to a water source but in the same flood zone. Under Risk Rating 2.0, Garrett said, the pricing will be more “actuarial.” “It gives a more comprehensive picture of the flood risk of a structure but also individualizes that to that specific location,” Garrett said. Because the new formula considers replacement cost, he added, it better accounts for the actual risk posed by a specific property.
How will this impact what I’m paying for flood insurance?
The answer comes down to your specific property. There are 139,842 active flood insurance policies across North Carolina, according to data provided by FEMA. In the first year of Risk Rating 2.0, impact to premiums would include: In North Carolina, there are fifty (50) properties including two single-family homes that would see rate increases of at least $100 a month. Those properties are generally located in coastal areas like Brunswick and New Hanover counties, but there are five in Wake County and three in Haywood County. Congress has capped flood insurance rate increases at 18% per year, so it could take several years for Risk Rating 2.0’s change to become fully effective in the most flood-prone areas. While the caps could be helpful right now, Hino said, gradual increases could lead to problems for some property owners. “You might be living in a house where your insurance is affordable right now and it might be for another couple of years, but it’s quickly going to get more expensive than you can tolerate,” Hino said, adding that homeowners need to know what their final cost of insurance will be once the full increases have taken effect. During the FEMA press call, Maurstad said premiums nationwide have been rising by about 10% annually for “a number of years.” In addition to offering the NFIP’s first-ever decreases, he said, premiums will stop increasing once the true risk level has been reached — a process he acknowledged could
take five or 10 years in some cases. Flood insurance premiums for single-family homes will be capped at $12,125 annually, he added.
Is Risk Rating 2.0 more equitable?
According to FEMA, policyholders in less expensive homes have historically paid an out-sized portion of flood insurance policies. By considering the cost of rebuilding a home, FEMA hopes not only to better price risk but also shift the burden of premiums to the people who are more likely to submit high claims. “It’s aimed at fixing a longstanding imbalance in the program where because it was based on this antiquated system, many lower-value, lower-risk homes were paying too much and many higher-risk, higher-value homes were paying not enough,” Lightbody said. Risk Rating 2.0 also does away with a discount for insurance that FEMA offered after the first $60,000 of coverage was purchased. Hino, of UNC, said that discount historically meant that people with more expensive homes were paying lower rates for more coverage. “That’s no longer the case,” Hino said, “and so it’s less likely to be the case that the owner of a comparatively lower-value property would be paying more to insure than the owner of a higher-value property.”
Will this change who needs to buy flood insurance?
No. Under Risk Rating 2.0, owners of any buildings that stand within a FEMA-mapped special flood hazard area will still need to purchase flood insurance in order to secure a federally backed mortgage. Special hazard areas are defined as places that have at least a 1% chance of flooding in a given year. “The in-or-out determination will still be important for the lending institutions to determine which structures are required to have flood insurance under the current regulations, and it’s also still going to be used for floodplain management,” Garrett said.
Read more » click here


 

GenX
For more information » click here
..
.


State to host PFAS, GenX remediation update
Residents can learn from the state next month the current actions underway to prevent and remediate per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, contamination at the Chemours Fayetteville Works Facility. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is hosting a remote community information session 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16. The public is invited to participate by phone or online. During the information session, there will be updates from NCDEQ’s air, water and waste management divisions about emission reduction requirements, upcoming permit actions, drinking water well sampling results and replacement water updates, according to the state. Officials from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will provide an overview of knowledge about potential health effects and how to reduce exposure. To dial in, call 1-415-655-0003 and use access code 2427 524 0753. To view the meeting online through WebEx at https://ncdenrits.webex.com/ncdenrits/j.php?MTID=m20e1854b10e617d07b77546e228cf776.
Event password is 1234. After the presentations by state representatives, community members who registered online before the meeting will have an opportunity to ask questions. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions through a chat feature in the web conferencing software. More information about the state’s investigation can be found at https://deq.nc.gov/news/hot-topics/genx-investigation. Information for residents can be found at https://deq.nc.gov/news/key-issues/genx-investigation/genx-information-residents.
Read more » click here

EPA to list PFAS as hazardous as part of new approach
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday an approach to address pollution nationwide from the types of toxic “forever chemicals” that have been plaguing southeastern North Carolina for decades, a plan that includes listing certain of these substances as hazardous under the Superfund Act. EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the three-year “PFAS Strategic Roadmap: EPA’s Commitments to Action 2021-2024”
Monday to a handful gathered at North Carolina State University’s Lake Raleigh Fishing Pier in Raleigh. Gov. Roy Cooper, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Elizabeth Biser and Congresswoman Deborah Ross, D-North Carolina, joined Regan for the announcement. The event was streamed live on YouTube, but technical issues frequently interrupted the program for viewers. The strategic roadmap, the result of work by the EPA Council on PFAS that Regan put in place in April, focuses on three strategies: increase investments in research, leverage authorities to act now to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment, and accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination, EPA officials said. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, including GenX, are a group of man-made chemicals used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. Research suggests that PFAS breaks down slowly and can accumulate in people, animals and the environment, which can lead to adverse health outcomes, according to the EPA. Regan has long been entrenched in managing PFAS. He was serving as the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality secretary when news broke June 7, 2017, that the Chemours Fayetteville Works facility had for years released PFAS into the Cape Fear River, the drinking water source for the Wilmington area. President Joe Biden selected Regan earlier this year to serve as the EPA administrator. Regan said that moving to designate certain PFAS as hazardous substances under the Superfund program would allow the agency to clean up contaminated sites and hold the responsible parties accountable by either having them perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-led cleanup work. “The Superfund program has successfully protected American communities by requiring polluters to pay to clean up the hazardous waste and pollution that they themselves have released in our environment,” he explained. “This strategy will leverage EPA existing authority to take bold action to restrict chemicals from entering the land, the air, the water, and land at all levels that are harmful to public health and the environment.” Regan said that the EPA will immediately broaden and accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination. When the agency becomes aware of a situation where PFAS poses a serious threat to the health of a community, “we will not hesitate to take swift action, strong enforcement to address the threat and hold polluters accountable, all across the country.” This strategy means EPA will work with other agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Defense Department to identify facilities where PFAS have been used and are known to be a source of contamination. Other actions include a final toxicity assessment of the substance known as GenX, “which will ensure that no other community has to go through what the Cape Fear River communities had to endure,” Regan said. Biden has called for more than $10 billion in funding to help address PFAS contamination through the Build Back Better Agenda. “These critical resources will enable EPA and other federal agencies to scale up the research and work, so that they’re commiserate with the scale of the challenges that we all face together,” Regan said. Regan highlighted work taking place in North Carolina, noting that Biser, the DEQ secretary, had recently issued a $300,000 fine to Chemours for failing to meet its obligation to protect state residents. “Secretary Biser is setting the standard, this is the kind of accountability that we want to see all over the country, and that we will work with states to achieve,” Regan said. He noted that across the country, lessons have been learned that can be shared and that every level of government will need to step up to protect the public. He also highlighted the need for continued partnerships with advocacy groups and community activists. Regan said that some may question trust in the EPA because “so many communities have been let down before, time and time again,” adding that the public needs to see action. “I believe that the national strategy that we’re laying out shows and demonstrates strong and forceful action from EPA, a willingness to use all of our authority, all of our tools, all of our talent to tackle PFAS.” He said the EPA pledges to “hold the polluters accountable for the decades of unchecked devastation that they’ve caused.”

 According to the EPA, the roadmap also includes the following:

    • Aggressive timelines to set enforceable drinking water limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure water is safe to drink in every community.
    • A hazardous substance designation under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, also known as Superfund, to strengthen the ability to hold polluters financially accountable.
    • Timelines for action, whether it is data collection or rulemaking, on Effluent Guideline Limitations under the Clean Water Act for nine industrial categories.
    • A review of past actions on PFAS taken under the Toxic Substances Control Act to address those that are insufficiently protective.
    • Increased monitoring, data collection and research so that the agency can identify what actions are needed and when to take them.
    • A final toxicity assessment for GenX, which can be used to develop health advisories that will help communities make informed decisions to better protect human health and ecological wellness.
    • Continued efforts to build the technical foundation needed on PFAS air emissions to inform future actions under the Clean Air Act. 

Cooper introduced Regan Monday afternoon, highlighting North Carolina’s and the nation’s need for the plan. “This roadmap commits the EPA to quickly setting enforceable drinking water limits for these chemicals, as well as giving us stronger tools, and giving them to communities, to protect people’s health and our environment. As we continue partnering with EPA on this and other important efforts. It’s critical that Congress pass the bipartisan infrastructure deal, and the larger budget resolution that includes funding to tackle PFAS contamination,” Cooper said. Biser pledged state cooperation. “We all have a lot of work ahead but with coordination at all levels of government, with our elected officials and our public servants, we can protect the communities and the residents throughout North Carolina, and across the nation,” she said.
Advocates react
The Southern Environmental Law Center has been at the forefront of litigation on behalf of Cape Fear River Watch against Chemours in North Carolina to stop GenX and other PFAS pollution. “SELC’s litigation under existing laws led to a consent order among Cape Fear River Watch, the state and Chemours to stop at least 99% of PFAS pollution that contaminated drinking water supplies for about 300,000 people in communities along the Cape Fear River,” the law center said in a statement. Geoff Gisler, a senior attorney with the law center and leader of its Clean Water Program, said in a statement that the roadmap charts a course to important new protections while using existing authority to protect families and communities plagued by PFAS pollution. “We have seen in North Carolina that when permitting agencies require industrial polluters to comply with existing laws, PFAS water pollution can be stopped at the source. EPA’s Roadmap pairs a plan for the future with the tools it currently has to stop ongoing contamination as the agency develops new standards,” Gisler said. “This roadmap, when fully implemented, could change the landscape in our efforts to protect communities from PFAS pollution. On this anniversary of the Clean Water Act, we’re a step closer to achieving its goals. While the roads to standards identified by EPA are necessarily long; the route to stopping ongoing pollution of our streams and rivers can and should be short.” Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del, issued a statement that he was encouraged by the EPA’s urgency in dealing with a public health threat. “This is truly a soup-to-nuts plan — one that commits to cleaning up PFAS in our environment while also putting protections in place to prevent more of these forever chemicals from finding their way into our lives. After the previous administration failed to follow through on its plan to address PFAS contamination, EPA’s new leadership promised action. I look forward to working with them on living up to this commitment.” Ken Cook, president of the national nonprofit Environmental Working Group, said that communities contaminated by PFAS had waited decades for action. “So, it’s good news that Administrator Regan will fulfill President Biden’s pledge to take quick action to reduce PFOA and PFOS in tap water, to restrict industrial releases of PFAS into the air and water, and to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances to hold polluters accountable,” Cook said in a statement. “It’s been more than 20 years since EPA and EWG first learned that these toxic forever chemicals were building up in our blood and increasing our likelihood of cancer and other health harms. It’s time for action, not more plans, and that’s what this Administrator will deliver. As significant as these actions are, they are just the first of many actions needed to protect us from PFAS, as the Administrator has said.” Environmental Working Group Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber said that no one should have to worry about toxic chemicals in their tap water. “We’re grateful that Administrator Regan will fulfill President Biden’s pledge to address PFOA and PFOS in our tap water and will begin to turn off the tap of industrial PFAS pollution.” The Environmental Protection Network is an organization composed of nearly 550 former EPA career staff and political appointees from across the country. The organization’s Betsy Southerland, former director of the Office of Science and Technology in EPA’s Office of Water, called EPA’s approach to restrict or ban current PFAS uses a critical piece of the plan. “The actions detailed in the roadmap are essential first steps in reducing people’s exposure to these extremely dangerous chemicals, especially in communities already disproportionately impacted by pollution,” Southerland said. “While EPA will identify initial PFAS classes in the National Testing Strategy, the agency set tight deadlines for regulating individual PFAS chemicals in air, water, and waste, which will begin to drive stringent treatment requirements. EPA’s success in turning the roadmap into action will require the swift passage of a robust budget to give the agency adequate funding and staffing to get the job done.”
Read more » click here

EPA to publish toxicity assessment, set health advisories for GenX.
Here’s what it means.
The federal government plans to take steps to help public health officials determine the risks associated with a compound that has contaminated hundreds of wells around a Bladen County chemical plant and drinking water in Wilmington and other communities downstream from the facility. The Environmental Protection Agency will release a toxicity assessment “in the coming days” for GenX, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said Monday at an event in Raleigh. The announcement was part of a broader move by EPA to develop a “strategic roadmap” on how to deal with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). GenX belongs to the PFAS family of compounds, which are sometimes known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily. State officials have been investigating GenX since 2017, when the Wilmington Star-News reported that researchers had found the chemical and similar compounds in the Cape Fear River, downstream from the Chemours plant. The company agreed to a consent order that requires it to drastically reduce the amount of GenX it emits into the air. The Chemours plant in Bladen County makes GenX. The compound also is a byproduct of other processes there. GenX and similar compounds have been found in hundreds of wells around the Chemours facility, which is off N.C. 87 near the Cumberland County line. Lisa Randall, a Chemours spokeswoman, said in a statement that company officials have reviewed the EPA roadmap and commend the agency for “compiling a comprehensive, science-based approach.” “While additional detail is needed for many of the initiatives, Chemours is supportive of the framework approach and looks forward to engaging in the process moving forward,” she said.  “We believe the voluntary stewardship program recommended by the agency could help achieve meaningful progress in reducing emissions while several of the initiatives work their way through the regulatory process.” Regan said on Monday that the toxicity assessment will help make sure other communities don’t have to go through what those in North Carolina have gone through.
Assessment intended to help health officials
A statement released by EPA officials said the assessment “can be used to develop health advisories that will help communities make informed decisions to better protect human health and ecological wellness.” The EPA plan says it will publish assessments on hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and its ammonium salt, which the plan calls “GenX chemicals.” The compounds have been found in surface water, groundwater, drinking water, rainwater, and air emissions, and are known to impact human health and ecosystems, it says. “Scientists have observed liver and kidney toxicity, immune effects, hematological effects, reproductive and developmental effects, and cancer in animals exposed to GenX chemicals,” the EPA plan says. “Completing a toxicity assessment for GenX is essential to better understanding its effects on people and the environment. EPA can use this information to develop health advisories that will help communities make informed decisions to better protect human health and ecological wellness.” Chemours officials have said that the amount of GenX in wells around the plant is not harmful. Scott Faber is senior vice president for government affairs with the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. He said he will be interested to see if the toxicity assessment causes the EPA to set a lifetime health advisory for GenX. The EPA has issued such advisories for two other PFAS compounds. They are perfluorooctanoic acid, which is known as PFOA, and perfluorooctane sulfonate, PFOS. PFOA, which also is called C8, was made at the Bladen County facility when it was owned by DuPont. Chemours is a spinoff from DuPont. The EPA could go further by setting mandatory drinking water standards for PFAS, Faber said. North Carolina also could set its own standards as some other states have done, he said. “That might be the quickest way to get GenX out of drinking water,” he said. The EPA plan also says toxicity assessments will be issued for five other PFAS compounds — PFBA, PFHxA, PFHxS, PFNA, and PFDA. Three of those compounds — PFHxA, PFNA, and PFDA — and PFOS were found in foam in a Cumberland County stream by state regulators this year. A Chemours spokeswoman said none of those compounds are associated with the plant’s processes. The EPA plan said that the agency expects to issue health advisories for GenX and another PFAS compound called PFBS next year. EPA published a toxicity assessment for PFBS in April. The health advisories are non-enforceable and non-regulatory but will help state and local officials determine if they need to take actions to address public health impacts, the plan said. “Health advisories offer a margin of protection by defining a level of drinking water concentration at or below which lifetime exposure is not anticipated to lead to adverse health effects,” it said. “They include information on health effects, analytical methodologies, and treatment technologies and are designed to protect all life stages.”
EPA roadmap sets timelines
The EPA plan also sets up timelines to set enforceable drinking water limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act, strengthens the ability to hold polluters accountable, and reviews previous actions by the agency regarding PFAS, according to the statement. The plan also calls for increased monitoring, data collection and research, it said. Faber said the plan represents the first time the administration of a president of either political party has set up timelines for which it can be held accountable. U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican who represents North Carolina’s 8th District, released a statement about the EPA roadmap. “I’m glad to see the EPA give these toxic forever chemicals the attention they deserve,” he said. “We need a comprehensive and reasonable approach to combat PFAS and I look forward to reviewing the EPA’s Roadmap.” Hudson thanked Regan for developing the initiative. “I will continue to work with the Administrator and my colleagues in Congress to make sure citizens near the Cape Fear River and throughout our region have access to safe drinking water,” he said. State Sen. Kirk deViere represents Cumberland County, which he called “ground zero for GenX contamination.” He said in a statement released Monday that he applauds the EPA action, but more must be done. “While this announcement provides a roadmap, we need timely action to provide clean water now to the thousands of residents of Cumberland County who have contaminated wells,” he said. “The ultimate solution cannot be simply offering bottles of water to residents or installing under-the-sink filters.” Bold leadership is needed by state officials and Chemours to be sure residents get clean water, deViere said. “This is a public health crisis and the time for drastic immediate improvement is now,” he said.
Read more » click here

How Chemical Companies Avoid Paying for Pollution
DuPont factories pumped dangerous substances into the environment. The company and its offspring have gone to great lengths to dodge responsibility.
One humid day this summer, Brian Long, a senior executive at the chemical company Chemours, took a reporter on a tour of the Fayetteville Works factory. Mr. Long showed off the plant’s new antipollution technologies, designed to stop a chemical called GenX from pouring into the Cape Fear River, escaping into the air and seeping into the ground water. There was a new high-tech filtration system. And a new thermal oxidizer, which heats waste to 2,000 degrees. And an underground wall — still under construction — to keep the chemicals out of the river. And more. “They’re not Band-Aids,” Mr. Long said. “They’re long-term, robust solutions.” Yet weeks later, North Carolina officials announced that Chemours had exceeded limits on how much GenX its Fayetteville factory was emitting. This month, the state fined the company $300,000 for the violations — the second time this year the company has been penalized by the state’s environmental regulator. GenX is part of a family of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. They allow everyday items — frying pans, rain jackets, face masks, pizza boxes — to repel water, grease and stains. Exposure to the chemicals has been linked to cancer and other serious health problems. To avoid responsibility for what many experts believe is a public health crisis, leading chemical companies like Chemours, DuPont and 3M have deployed a potent mix of tactics. They have used public charm offensives to persuade regulators and lawmakers to back off. They have engineered complex corporate transactions to shield themselves from legal liability. And they have rolled out a conveyor belt of scantly tested substitute chemicals that sometimes turn out to be just as dangerous as their predecessors. “You don’t have to live near Chemours or DuPont or 3M to have exposure to these things,” said Linda S. Birnbaum, the former head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “It is in the water. It is in our food. It’s in our homes and in our house dust. And depending on where you live, it may be in our air.” PFAS substances are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down and can accumulate in the environment and in the blood and organs of people and animals. When the compounds get into water supplies, the effects can be devastating. Around Madison, Wis., residents are advised not to eat the fish from nearby lakes. In Wayland, Mass., residents are drinking bottled water because the tap water is contaminated. In northern Michigan, scientists found unsafe levels of PFAS in the rain. Most Americans have been exposed to at least trace amounts of the chemicals and have them in their blood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research by chemical companies and academics has shown that exposure to PFAS has been linked to cancer, liver damage, birth defects and other health problems. GenX was supposed to be a safer alternative to earlier generations of the chemicals, but new studies are discovering similar health hazards. This week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was going to start requiring companies to test and publicly report the amount of PFAS in the products they make. It is an early step toward regulating the chemicals, though the E.P.A. has not set limits on their production or discharge. The E.P.A. administrator, Michael S. Regan, who announced the new rules, previously was the top environmental regulator in North Carolina, where he clashed with Chemours over its GenX pollution. “PFAS contamination has been devastating communities for decades,” Mr. Regan said. “I saw this firsthand in North Carolina.” The situation in Fayetteville is in many ways emblematic of the battles being waged in communities nationwide. Pollution from Fayetteville Works has shown up in drinking water as far as 90 miles away from the plant. Chemours argues that most of the pollution in North Carolina occurred long before it owned Fayetteville Works. DuPont, which built the factory in the 1960s, claims it can’t be held liable because of a corporate reorganization that took place several years ago. DuPont “does not produce” the chemicals in question, “and we are not in a position to comment on products that are owned by other independent, publicly traded companies,” said a DuPont spokesman, Daniel A. Turner. Both companies have downplayed the dangers of their chemicals and opted for occasional piecemeal fixes rather than comprehensive but costly solutions that would have protected the environment, according to interviews with scientists, lawyers, regulators, company officials and residents and a review of previously unreported documents detailing the industry’s tactics.
Read more » click here 


  •  

    Homeowners Insurance
    For more information » click here
    .



  • .
    Hurricane Season

    For more information » click here

 

Goodbye hurricane season? With 6 weeks to go, it may be all but over
While the Atlantic hurricane season does not officially end until Nov. 30, AccuWeather forecasters believe that the odds of any additional tropical storm formation in the near future are low. After a frenetic pace around the peak of hurricane season, there is now just one name left on the 2021 list of storm names: Wanda. Might that name go unused? The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season got off to a record-fast start, with five storms forming by July 1, surpassing a record set just a year ago. The season continued at a fast pace, with development kicking off again in mid-August and continuing through mid-September. By the end of the period of rapid activity, eight storms had made landfall in the United States. But now, the tropics sit dormant.
Read more » click here
.


 

Inlet Hazard Areas
For more information » click here
.


.

Lockwood Folly Inlet
For more information » click here
.



US Army Corps of Engineers set to complete dredging of dangerously shallow Brunswick County inlet
Dredging is finally underway in Lockwood Folly Inlet, an area fishermen, rescuers and recreational boaters alike have been eagerly awaiting the much-needed maintenance. The area between Oak Island and Holden Beach had gotten so shallow that boats were in danger of crashing and flipping over. The inlet was just 1-2 feet deep at low tide, a level so dangerous the Coast Guard removed its navigation buoys and deemed the inlet unsafe. Leaders hoped to get the US Army Corps dredge down this spring, but due to several delays, crews couldn’t make it down until early August. US Army Corps of Engineers says there’s several factors that play into their dredging schedule. Because they only have four vessels that work all across the entire east coast, they have to prioritize projects very carefully. Things grow even more challenging, given the size of the shallow draft inlet. The only ship in the fleet that can clear the channel is the side caster dredge, called the Merritt. Elements like public safety, commerce, and the source of the funding play into the order USACE tackles its projects, but the agency also isn’t immune to equipment breakdowns, COVID-19 delays, storms, or having to respond to emergencies around its coverage area, which stretches from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico. Despite the obstacles, leaders were happy to be back to maintain Lockwood Folly, where they aim to dredge the channel every few months. “We’re here to help. We don’t like it any more than they do. If we could just pick up everything and come right away to all these areas that need us to dredge, we absolutely want to do that, but we’re just — we have constraints that we have to take into consideration, and again we have to prioritize, but if we can get there, we’re going to,” said USACE Chief of Navigation Jeremy Smith. The dredging of the inlet was funded by the town of Holden Beach, Oak Island and Brunswick County. The project cost rang in at $600,000. No federal dollars were used. The dredging kicked off in early August and is expected to wrap up in the next week.
Read more » click here

Boaters call for USCG to add navigational buoys back to Lockwood Folly Inlet
The Lockwood Folly Inlet between Oak Island and Holden Beach is no longer dangerously shallow following a recent dredging project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveyed the inlet on Monday morning to follow up on the dredging project that was completed on September 5. The Corps said the project was successful and President of the Lockwood Folly Inlet Association Cane Faircloth agrees. “We had a lot of beach erosion from the tropical storms that were passing by and the high tides, but the inlet faired really good from that,” Faircloth said. “It actually got better; it didn’t get worse. That’s always a concern when you have sand eroding from the beaches.” The conditions are a stark difference from earlier this summer. In June, the Coast Guard shared a bulletin saying parts of the inlet were less than two feet deep at low tide. Now the Corps said according to a survey performed just after the dredging project was complete
, the channel is seven to eight feet deep and 150 feet wide. “The inlet’s in great shape, we have a great channel, but it’s really important for us to get our navigational aids put back so that boaters can know exactly where this channel is because it’s really shallow to the east or the west of the channel,” Faircloth said. Another concern is the shipwreck close by the inlet that’s only visible at low tide. “Over the past month, we’ve had a couple of boaters hit it. We had one boater hit it this weekend and tear the lower unit of his engine off,” Faircloth said. The Coast Guard is the entity in charge of placing the navigational buoys. A spokesperson said they are awaiting the results of Monday’s survey to see if the project held and it’s safe for them to mark the channel. The spokesperson explained the water must be deep enough for their cutter to place and maintain the buoys. The results of Monday’s survey are expected to be available by Tuesday afternoon. The Coast Guard spokesperson added there are no plans to mark the shipwreck and it has never been marked before. While Faircloth waits and advocates for the return of the buoys, he advises people to follow boaters who are familiar with the inlet to get a track line and remain cautious while navigating the area.
Read more » click here

Lockwood Folly Inlet survey results are in
The latest survey results of Lockwood Folly Inlet have been posted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On Tuesday afternoon, the Corps posted the results of the survey conducted on Monday morning. The survey was a follow-up from the latest dredging project that concluded on September 5. The Corps said on September 27 that the dredging project was successful, citing a survey performed just after the completion of the project that showed the channel was seven to eight feet deep and 150 feet wide. Lockwood Folly Inlet Association President Cane Faircloth said the inlet is in great shape following the latest dredge. Faircloth said the heavy rainfall helping the inlet rather than hurting it shows the environment is responding well to the project and it’s evident the economy is benefitting judging by the number of fishermen using the inlet. Faircloth said the final piece of the puzzle in making the inlet as safe as possible would be returning to navigational buoys. Returning the navigational aids is up to the U.S. Coast Guard. A USCG spokesperson said they will review the latest survey to determine if they can safely return the buoys because the water must be deep enough for their cutter to place and maintain the buoys.
Read more » click here

Editor’s Note –
It is my understanding that the inlet buoys were put back on October 19th


.

Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
For more information » click here

 


Report touts benefits of bans on new offshore drilling leases
An international advocacy group released Wednesday a state-based analyses detailing the economic benefits of banning new offshore drilling for the East and West coasts. In the report, Oceana, an organization dedicated to ocean conservation, looked at data on ocean-dependent jobs and fishing, tourism and recreation revenue along the coasts of Atlantic and Pacific states, North Carolina, and Florida’s Gulf coast. Based on Oceana’s findings in January, findings suggest that ending new leasing for offshore oil and gas in the United States could prevent more than 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions as well as more than $720 billion in damages. Ending new leasing also will support around 3.3 million American jobs and $250 billion in gross domestic product, according to the organization. The analysis for North Carolina says that the state has 3,375 miles of coastline that supports 62,000 jobs with a clean coast economy. Tourism, recreation, and fishing bring in about $3.1 billion. Additionally, the economically recoverable oil and gas resources would only meet demand for roughly 65 days of oil and 57 days of gas. A catastrophic oil spill would pose a great risk to North Carolina’s coastal economies that depend on a healthy ocean. For the East Coast, offshore drilling threatens more than 1.6 million jobs and about $127 billion for seven months’ worth of oil and six months’ worth of gas, the analysis finds. The House Committee on Natural Resources proposed Monday a legislative measure
that would permanently protect the Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf of Mexico from future offshore drilling. Additionally, the Biden-Harris administration is expected to release an interim report on the federal oil and gas leasing program, which Oceana officials said, “must result in an end to new leasing for offshore drilling.” Oceana campaign director Diane Hoskins said that to protect coastal economies and combat climate change, “we must stop looking for new fossil fuels in the ocean.” Hoskins said in a news release that the new state-level analysis offers the clearest picture yet of the economic dangers associated with expanded offshore drilling. Permanent protections will safeguard states’ tourism, recreation, and fishing industries and prevent climate pollution that is incompatible with addressing the climate crisis. “President Biden has taken bold, swift action on climate, which stands in stark contrast to the denial of climate change and the attacks our oceans and coasts faced during the previous administration. Now, President Biden and Congress must go further to ensure our coasts are permanently protected from new offshore drilling,” Hoskins said. Oceana reports that the following oppose or are concerned over offshore drilling activities:

    • Every East and West Coast governor, including North Carolina’s Gov. Roy Cooper.
    • More than 390 local municipalities, 2,300 local, state and federal bipartisan officials, 120 scientists and 80 former military leaders.
    • Alliances representing more than 56,000 businesses on both coasts.
    • Pacific, New England, South Atlantic, and Mid-Atlantic fishery management councils, and commercial and recreational fishing interests
    • Department of Defense, NASA, U.S. Air Force and Florida Defense Support Task Force

Read more » click here.


.

Offshore Wind Farms
For more information » click here
.

.
Biden Administration Plans Wind Farms Along Nearly the Entire U.S. Coastline
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced that her agency will formally begin the process of identifying federal waters to lease to wind developers by 2025.
Speaking at a wind power industry conference in Boston, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said that her agency will begin to identify, demarcate, and hope to eventually lease federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Maine and off the coasts of the Mid-Atlantic States, North Carolina and South Carolina, California, and Oregon, to wind power developers by 2025. The announcement came months after the Biden administration approved the nation’s first major commercial offshore wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and began reviewing a dozen other potential offshore wind projects along the East Coast. On the West Coast, the administration has approved opening up two areas off the shores of Central and Northern California for commercial wind power development. Taken together, the actions represent the most forceful push ever by federal government to promote offshore wind development. “The Interior Department is laying out an ambitious road map as we advance the administration’s plans to confront climate change, create good-paying jobs, and accelerate the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” said Ms. Haaland. “This timetable provides two crucial ingredients for success: increased certainty and transparency. Together, we will meet our clean energy goals while addressing the needs of other ocean users and potentially impacted communities.”
Read more » click here


Things I Think I Think –

Dining #2Eating out is one of the great little joys of life.

Restaurant Review:
Dinner Club visits a new restaurant once a month. Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration.
/////
Dinner Club outings have been on hold since March 2020

Dining Guide – Guests

Dining Guide – Local

Restaurant Reviews – North

Restaurant Reviews – South


Name:            Café Chinois
Cuisine:
        Asian Fusion
Location:      3710 S College Road / Unit#123, Wilmington NC
Contact:        910.769.3193 / 
https://www.cafe-chinois.com/

Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:         Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:    Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:               Inexpensive <=$18 / Moderate <=$24 / Expensive <=$30 / Exorbitant <=$40
Rating:          Three Stars
This restaurant is the latest eatery from the Indochine restaurant group. It’s an unassuming restaurant located in  a nondescript strip mall. You will be pleasantly surprised when you step inside to the dining room that is filled to the brim with Asian art and artifacts. An exceptional value with large portions and moderate prices for the quality of the food served. You can expect a dining experience similar to their flagship restaurant Indochine


Cloud 9
9 Estell Lee Pl
Wilmington, North Carolina 28401
910.726.9226
Rooftop Bar
http://www.cloud9ilm.com

Enjoy panoramic views from the Cloud 9 rooftop bar which overlooks picturesque downtown Wilmington. This premier open-air rooftop venue is located on the Riverwalk in downtown Wilmington on the ninth floor of the Embassy Suites. The bar is open seven (7) days a week at 4:00 PM and is currently serving almost fifty (50) different brews on tap and in cans and more than 20 wine selections. They also offer live music Thursday through Saturday evenings throughout the summer months. This is a must visit the next time you are in Wilmington.


Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
/////

FALLING by T.J. Newman
Falling is a terrifying tale of a single cross-country flight during which an airline pilot faces an impossible choice. The choice he’s given is to crash his plane, killing everyone aboard, or save the lives of his passengers and watch his family die. It’s one very bad day where things somehow just keep getting worse.
 


  • .That’s it for this newsletter

    See you next month


    Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

    .                                  • Gather and disseminate information
    .                                   • Identify the issues and determine how they affect you

    .                                   • Act as a watchdog
    .                                   • Grass roots monthly newsletter since 2008

    https://lousviews.com/