Controversial Biomass Plant Project Seeks Public Comment During COVID-19 Crisis

by | Jan 14, 2021

A hotly-contested proposed biomass plant has one more hurdle to clear: getting an air emissions permit from state regulators. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has twice extended the public comment period, now to May 27. But local environmental groups are worried that with the state moving the process forward amid the coronavirus pandemic, the permit may be granted without much citizen input. Status: Public comment period closes May 27, 2020.

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Amy Westervelt is the editor-in-chief of Drilled News, creator and host of the Drilled podcast, and founder of the Critical Frequency podcast network, named AdWeek's Podcast Network of the Year in 2019. An award-winning print and audio journalist, Amy has contributed to The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, as well as KQED, The California Report, Capital Public Radio, and many other outlets. She is the 2015 winner of the Rachel Carson award for "women greening journalism," and a 2016 winner of an Edward R. Murrow award for her series on the impacts of the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada. In 2019, the Drilled podcast won the Online News Association's "Excellence in Audio Storytelling" award.

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Emily J. Gertz is senior editor of Drilled News. A longtime environmental reporter and editor, her work has appeared in HuffPost, Reveal, Arctic Today, The Guardian, Popular Science, Scientific American, Sierra, and more.