In the latest twist on the controversial power plant Duke University proposed last spring, an influential group of students, faculty and staff says it should be fueled from methane captured from hog waste, not natural gas.
Plant on Duke University Campus
Learn more about the fracked gas plant Duke Energy wanted to build on the Duke University campus.
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Think of waking up in the morning and stepping outside to get a breath of fresh air, but instead get hit with the stench of hog waste. This is life in Duplin County, which is not just where I live, it is my home.
The scientists who work on climate issues at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University belong to an esteemed crowd. Their studies on the environmental, economic and public health perils of fracked natural gas have been featured in major peer-reviewed journals. Their findings on the role of methane leaks from natural gas in harming human health and driving climate change have earned the school scientific renown… And yet Duke University is proposing to build a $55 million, 21-megawatt natural gas plant on West Campus.
North Carolina lawmakers put off voting Wednesday on a bill that would protect the state’s hog farmers from lawsuits filed by their neighbors over the odors and illnesses they say are caused by hog waste.
Activists from two environmental groups faulted Duke University for not being more transparent in its handling of a proposal to build a gas-turbine power plant on campus. But at a forum Monday at Duke, representatives of the National Resources Defense Council and N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network made clear they also want a seat at the table in the university’s in-house debate about whether to build the 21-megawatt facility in cooperation with the state’s primary electric company, Duke Energy.
Opponents of a power plant that has been proposed for Duke University’s campus say it is unneeded and would expand the use of natural gas obtained through the controversial process of “fracking.” Duke agreed last year to allow Duke Energy to build the 21-megawatt combined heat and power plant. A meeting for people to speak in favor of or against the $55 million plant took place Monday night and while the discussion remained peaceful, attendees made it very clear they felt the process was flawed from the beginning.
Neighbors of Duke University plan to call a “flagrant foul” against the president of the basketball powerhouse at a Monday meeting that was quietly arranged just days ago by the administration. Durham residents are angry that university officials have blocked open debate about a Duke Energy proposal for a campus power plant that would burn fracked gas.
Nearly two dozen environmental and community groups have voiced their opposition to a proposed Duke Energy natural gas plant at Duke University, which is now stalled in the state approval process.
Duke’s recent proposal to build a new natural gas plant on its campus would send a dangerous signal to those that look to Duke as a model. Climate change was created by fossil fuels – a new investment that could leave the university dependent on fracked gas beyond the year 2050 is not a climate solution. Research by Duke’s own faculty has revealed the dangers of such natural gas production – from water contamination to leaks of methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide.
Commentary by Jim Warren. Duke University can help slow the climate crisis – or make it worse at a critical time.