Regional Report Triangle January 2014
Lawmakers cause a stir at Jordan Lake
By mixing things up at B. Everett Jordan Dam and Lake, lawmakers are saving buckets of money — at least for now. The reservoir, mostly in Chatham County, has had water-quality issues since it was impounded in 1983, and the then Democrat-led General Assembly approved a plan in 2009 to prevent pollution-causing nutrients from getting into it. That course follows Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, which include building stream buffers and collection ponds. It would cost between $1 billion and $2 billion, according to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. In August, the now Republican-controlled legislature shelved the Jordan Water Supply Nutrient Strategy for three years in favor of a pilot program. DENR will lease 36 devices from Dickinson, N.D.-based Medora Corp. Called SolarBees, the sun-powered pumps circulate water above the thermocline. The company claims that suppresses blooms of harmful algae — cyanobacteria — but even Medora Director of Science Ken Hudnell can’t explain how. (He does have hypotheses.) In Lake Houston in Texas, 20 SolarBees “led to an avoidance of seasonal algal blooms” and saved the city $769,000 a year in treatment costs, according to the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. But their benefits have been inconclusive in other lakes. One thing is certain: It will be cheaper than the state’s suspended strategy. The two-year lease, which DENR hopes to begin April 1, will cost $1.3 million.
CARY — Xerox Business Services cut 139 of the 1,800 jobs at its local call center in December. The company, a division of Norwalk, Conn.-based Xerox Corp., said the layoffs were due to reduced needs by a customer. Some of the workers could be rehired to work for other clients.
DURHAM — Patheon, a local drug-development and -manufacturing services provider, will combine with Dutch life-sciences company Royal DSM, the world’s biggest vitamin-maker, in a $2.6 billion deal. Royal DSM and JLL Partners, a New York private-equity firm that is Patheon’s majority investor, will own the new company, which will be headquartered here and employ 8,300 internationally.
RALEIGH — Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, the 2004 Democratic nominee for vice president who sought the top spot on the ticket in 2008 only to see his political career crumble amid efforts to cover up an extramarital affair, opened a law firm with former partner and trial lawyer David Kirby. Edwards Kirby employs six lawyers in offices here and in Washington, D.C.
CLAYTON — German biotechnology company Bayer CropScience opened a 278-acre research apiary here in November to support its Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park, where it studies honeybees, whose declining numbers could have a significant effect on the food supply.