Environment

Devon Hall, Sr., is 62 and has lived in the Duplin County town of Warsaw all his life.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Hog country in eastern North Carolina can be beautiful and serene. Pastoral scenes with uncluttered horizons, neat farmhouses, corn fields swaying in the breeze, and livestock quietly grazing – the perfect place to sit on the back porch and sip some sweet tea. But if the wind shifts just right – and it often does – powerful odors from farms can force neighbors to take refuge indoors.

Overhead view of Hurricane Matthew
NASA / Flickr

Gov. Roy Cooper made another visit to Kinston as it continues to recover from Hurricane Matthew. 

The city was one of the hardest hit from the storm's record floods in October.

Cape Fear River, NC, at Raven Rock Park
Blipperman / Wikimedia Commons

A chemical compound found in the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) water supply is garnering the attention of local officials. The contaminant GenX is manufactured by the Chemours Company at its Fayetteville Works plant. GenX is a replacement for a hazardous ingredient in Teflon. GenX is a relatively new compound and has yet to be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Little data exists about the chemical’s health effects. Host Frank Stasio talks with Vince Winkel, reporter for WHQR in Wilmington, and Larry Cahoon, professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, about the effects of GenX and how officials are responding to the contaminants in the water supply. 

Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Sarah Hamilton / Flickr

Elizabeth City is taking a hit to its tourism economy as crews continue to clean up a popular boating route that's been closed since Hurricane Matthew hit in October.

red wolf
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Residents and interested parties will have a chance to once again weigh in on the future of the wild red wolf population in eastern North Carolina.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is known as the primary carrier of the Zika virus.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

With mosquito season underway, public health officials are monitoring the spread of the Zika virus. North Carolina officials say the threat of the mosquito-borne virus is low here this year.

an image of a metallic, green emerald ash borer
USDA

The invasive, tree-killing emerald ash borer has been detected in one more county in North Carolina. The insect was confirmed in Mecklenburg County this week.

 Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Seismic blasting is a controversial technique used to map offshore oil reserves. In January of 2017, the Obama administration officially denied applications for seismic blasting in the Atlantic, but the Trump administration reversed that decision with an executive order a few months later. The announcement brought many in coastal communities out to protest, stating concerns about the impact of seismic blasting on marine life and tourism.


sugargliding / Flickr/Creative Commons

Part guidebook, part preservation effort, "Living at the Water's Edge: A Heritage Guide to the Outer Banks Byway" (The University of North Carolina Press/2017) takes visitors to the proverbial porches of those who live along the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway. The 21 unincorporated communities from Whalebone Junction to North River Bridge are unique.

A screengrab of a footprint taken to monitor endangered species.
Courtesy of ConservationFIT

Conservation scientists at Duke University are using images from smartphones and drones to study the population and behavior of endangered species.

A beach near Wilmington, NC.
libby via flickr, Creative Commons

North Carolina's inland cities could have an unforeseen influx of residents from the coast due to sea level rise. 

Wake County wants to expand and connect the greenways in the county
Ray Rivera / Flickr

The Wake County Parks Department wants to connect hundreds of miles of its greenway trails.

The department is considering a proposal to add more than 270 miles to its network of trails across the county.

Plant manager Tom Hanes looks out over the Duke Energy natural gas-fired plant in Hamlet.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

In many homes across the state, residents come home from work, turn on their lights, run their dishwashers and watch television or browse the Internet. They do all this without giving much thought to the electricity that courses for miles underground and through their house to power these devices.

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse on the Crystal Coast will switch to a solar-powered system this week.
Cape Lookout National Seashore

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse on the Crystal Coast will switch to a solar-powered system this week.

Terrestrial Podcast / kuow.org

Many people are aware of the way human choices are changing the planet. But how is the planet shaping the big and small choices people make everyday? The new podcast “Terrestrial” from NPR member station KUOW traces the decisions people make based on the environment, like a couple’s decision not to have children because of rising global population, or the exploration of composting as an eco-friendly way of processing dead bodies.

HSUS
HSUS

Gov. Roy Cooper slammed down another veto Friday, his fourth of this legislative term.

Cooper vetoed House Bill 467, which would reduce the liability hog farmers face for the nuisance caused by stenches wafting from their operations.

Renewable energy credits in North Carolina by year.
N.C. Department of Revenue / Jason deBruyn

The North Carolina Department of Revenue gave a record number of tax credits last year for renewable energy use.

Duke Energy / Flickr Creative Commons

Last year Duke Energy acquired Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 billion. The purchase is a marker of the energy industry’s shift toward using natural gas to produce electricity. Supporters of natural gas say it is cheaper and burns cleaner than coal. But critics argue that methane leaks during storage and transportation, which can accelerate global warming.

Storms in Raleigh caused flooding in Kinston. This photo was taken April 25, 2017.
Associated Press

The mayor of Kinston wants the N.C. Legislature and U.S. Congress to help prevent future floods as the Neuse River crests from more heavy rain.

Liz Bell

Many communities in eastern North Carolina are still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The storm hit the East Coast last October, and in Edgecombe County hundreds of students were displaced after flooding nearly destroyed Princeville Elementary School. Now the Edgecombe County school board must decide on next steps for rebuilding the school.

Public Domain / Wiki Creative Commons

In the 1930s, the federal government started to map out regions deemed financially stable enough to receive mortgage assistance through a process called “redlining.” The areas identified as “too risky” for loans were largely concentrated in minority and low-income neighborhoods. During the same time, the City of Durham implemented tree-planting programs across various neighborhoods.

An aerial photograph of a CAFO, or concentrated animal feeding operation, taken on Monday, October 10, 2016 shows the facility surrounded by water.
Rick Dove / Waterkeeper Alliance

The national nonprofit American Rivers has named the Neuse and Cape Fear rivers among the country's most endangered.

Marc Edwards has been named among the most influential people in the world by Time, Fortune, Politico, and Foreign Policy Magazine. Edwards is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, and he blew the whistle on the water crisis in Flint, Mich.

Capt. Dean VanderLey, commanding officer of Naval Facilities Engineering Command for the Mid-Atlantic region, standing in front of NOAA's Sewell's Point tidal gauge, which measures the sea level at Naval Station Norfolk, the world's largest naval base.
Jay Price / WUNC

When President Donald Trump visited a shipyard at Newport News, Va. this month, he told an audience of sailors and shipbuilders that the United States would defeat any danger and handle any threat.

But one of the biggest threats to the military is one that Trump didn't mention: sea level rise.  

Public Herald / Flickr Creative Commons

  The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would span approximately 600 miles across three states. The pipeline is a joint project between Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, Piedmont Natural  Gas and Southern Company .


A photo of a black bear captured in Jones county through the North Carolina Candid Critter project.
North Carolina's Candid Critters / North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Wildlife scientists and managers are trying to capture photos of wildlife in every North Carolina county using motion sensing cameras. NC State University and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences are working with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to compile a mammal survey.

Section of Mid-Currituck Bridge project map.
ncdot.gov/projects/midcurrituckbridge/download/ProjectMap.pdf / NCDOT

A group of residents and visitors is asking the new North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary to consider alternatives to building a proposed two-lane bridge between the Currituck mainland and the Outer Banks. The project has long been in the research and planning phase as a means to alleviate tourist traffic and offer another emergency evacuation route.

Duke Energy's coal-burning plant and the adjacent coal ash ponds by the Dan River.
Riverkeeper Foundation

A study from N.C. State University says researchers have not found increased levels of toxic elements in soil along the Dan River. It's been almost three years since a Duke Energy coal ash pond released slurry into the river.

New living reef on Pamlico Sound.
Courtesy of NCDOT

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has built a living reef about a mile west of the Bonner Bridge in Pamlico Sound.

Nags Head
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The town of Nags Head is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, for help to restore 1.4 million cubic meters of sand along its shoreline after Hurricane Matthew. 

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