A new editorial on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline appeared in the NCSU newspaper, The Technician. This piece follows an editorial last week by the Raleigh News and Observer. Both pieces warn that the project may not live up to developers' economic development promises, yet will continue to exacerbate climate change. The developer's advertising campaign continues to focus on potential economic development and possible reduction of greenhouse gas emissions relative to coal.
It seemed like Lumbee and other tribal communities in eastern North Carolina had barely recovered from Hurricane Matthew (October 2016) when Hurricane Florence brought even more rain to the region. Lumbee, Coharie, and Waccamaw Siouan people were all impacted seriously by flooding in the wake of Hurricane Florence, which brought more than 30 inches of rain to some parts of eastern North Carolina. Rainfall totals near tribal population centers were closer to 20 inches, which was still enough to cause tremendous flooding.
Ryan spoke to a Washington Post reporter who was embedded in Lumberton during the worst of the flooding. You can read her full piece here, which touches on aspects of flooding, wetlands, infrastructure, sustainable development, and more.
Ryan also teamed up with Global WaSH engineers and scientists at NC State and UNC to conduct a water quality sampling campaign during and immediately after the floods. The attached photo shows NC State graduate student, Jocelyn Painter collecting samples from the Great Coharie River with Ryan and Mr. Greg Jacobs, administrator of the Coharie Tribe. The photo is linked to a Twitter discussion about this excursion.
The Fayetteville Observer covered a public meeting in Lumberton on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Although the meeting was nominally about the Department of Environmental Quality's limited role in permitting wetland and stream impacts under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, many attendees spoke out on the pipeline's negative impacts to culture and economy. Because the NC Department of Commerce also attended the meeting, I focused my comments on the negative impacts of climate change, exacerbated by infrastructure like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. I cited newly published research in Science by Hsiang and colleagues on the uneven distribution of economic damages caused by climate change. I noted that Robeson County would suffer the greatest losses in North Carolina relative to the county's total income. After analyzing publicly available data from Hsiang et al., I noted that NC as a whole would incur damages from climate change totaling billions of dollars annually by the end of this century.
The attached photo from NC Policy Watch shows me (Ryan) delivering the warning to environment and commerce officials in Lumberton on August 17, 2017. Sarah Rice, Title VI Civil Rights coordinator for the NC Department of Environmental Quality, is in the background.
Read the Fayetteville Observer article here.
UNC Chapel Hill student Karine Martel wrote about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in her environmental journalism course. Her final paper is available here on the UNC American Indian Center's website.
Many tribal communities in eastern North Carolina are situated near blackwater rivers and pocosin ecosystems. A recent episode of UNC-TV's Exploring North Carolina focuses on these unique natural resources. The video is embedded below and also available on the UNC-TV website.
Periodic flooding around Pembroke, NC (heart of the Lumbee community) reported in the local newspaper, The Robesonian