Environment

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

Updated 10:28 a.m., Sept. 25

The country's largest electric company says it will publish federally mandated maps that it previously refused to publish, showing what could happen to neighboring properties if a coal-ash pit burst.

a flooded road after Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Multiple major hurricanes in the last few weeks have led to a renewed discussion of climate change, and when it is appropriate, to discuss possible policy and lifestyle changes.

coal ash
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced it will reconsider safeguards the Obama Administration put in place to regulate coal ash disposal.

National Guard soldiers in Houston in August of 2017
Texas Army National Guard photo / FBI

Floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey still filled the streets in Texas when Hurricane Irma blew ashore in Florida. As the latest storm moves toward North Carolina, Duke scientists explore whether these rare weather events are growing more frequent or more extreme. They also analyze how communities and governments can become more resilient.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

On Tuesday the state of North Carolina initiated a lawsuit against the Chemours Company for allegedly dumping the contaminant GenX into the Cape Fear River. 

A view of the Blue Ridge Parkway on October 11, 2016 north of Devil's Couthouse in western North Carolina.
Jennifer Mesk / http://humansofasheville.net

Forecasters say North Carolina can expect an "average" season for fall leaves, but a college professor suggests it may not be so bad.

Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill

The Sierra Club has recognized several North Carolina universities for their sustainability efforts, naming them "Cool Schools" in 2017 as part of its annual ranking. The University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill beat out Appalachian State, Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, ranking 28th overall out of 217 universities on the list. 

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

There are more concerns about drinking water in Wilmington. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has identified two more chemical compounds that are discharging into the Cape Fear River.

tink tracy / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/6cMNx8

A report on sea level rise in North Carolina points to dozens of coastal communities that face chronic flooding over the next century. 

Morning on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Outer Banks Real Estate / Flickr Creative Commons

A storm is moving off the North Carolina coast but forecasters say the chance of it becoming tropical are dropping.

Duke Energy provides electricity for most of North Carolina since the 2012 merger.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy is asking regulators to let its western North Carolina subsidiary raise household electricity bills by nearly 17 percent and charge consumers billions of dollars for a nuclear plant it will not build and also to clean up coal ash pits.

Mangamaso and Velona were born at Parc Ivoloina, a nonprofit nature center in eastern Madagascar. The Duke Lemur Center and Parc Ivoloina, managed by the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group, have been partners since 1987.
David Haring / Duke University

A pair of endangered lemurs has been imported to the U.S. from Madagascar for the first time in two decades.

Morning on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Outer Banks Real Estate / Flickr Creative Commons

The Trump Administration has disbanded an advisory committee created to turn federal climate analysis into concrete plans for dealing with climate change.

Early morning anglers heading downstream from Avent's Ferry on the Cape Fear River, near Corinth, North Carolina.
Donald Lee Pardue / Flickr/Creative Commons

North Carolina legislators began grappling Wednesday with a growing environmental and health alarm about an unregulated and little-studied chemical compound its maker released for years into a river supplying drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people.

Richard Spurr of Greenville, S.C., watches the start of the total eclipse in Starr, S.C., while calling his family in New England on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.
Alex Kolyer / For WUNC

A total solar eclipse has made its way from Oregon to South Carolina. Fourteen states were in the path of total darkness, including North and South Carolina.

Sample products made using plastic and coal ash from ponds and landfills. Researchers at North Carolina A&T University have developed the composite building material and hope to eventually have it replace wood in some construction.
Courtesy of Kunigal Shivakumar

Researchers at North Carolina A&T University have developed a composite building material using plastic and coal ash from ponds and landfills.

winnow ant
Alex Wild

According to Eleanor Spicer Rice, ants have a range of personalities, from team player to charismatic. What she will not call them, however, are pests. 

FILE - In a Tuesday June 6, 2017 file photo, hydrologist William K. Jones, walks up a mountain near the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Bolar, Va.
Steve Helber, File / AP

A controversial pipeline project is getting some support from local elected leaders in the eastern part of the state.

Charles Bangley of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center leads his crew on an evening shark fishing trip on Pamlico Sound.
Jay Price / WUNC

Bull sharks and lion fish are among the species becoming more common in North Carolina, while black sea bass and other fish are getting harder to find.

Kill Devil Grill
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

In an uncommon step for a state regulator, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on a federal government program that may allow offshore oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

Federal prosecutors are investigating a company and its discharges of a little-studied chemical into a North Carolina river that supplies drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people.

Bull shark
Brook Ward - https://flic.kr/p/PtKaBo / Flickr - Creative Commons

Intertwining ocean currents off the coast of North Carolina form a unique environment for marine species. Both tropically-inclined and colder water animals mingle at the intersection of the Gulf Stream and the arctic Labrador Current. 

a spash of water
Kev Lewis / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/dsd82n

Officials with Greensboro's Division of Water Resources are monitoring a water facility in the city.

Flickr Commons

Recently released research from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill projects that unchecked climate change will significantly impact premature deaths associated with air pollution.

Harkers Island at sunset
bobistraveling / flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/mVQxex

The North Carolina Coastal Federation has received a federal grant to clean up debris from an abandoned clam growing operation off Harkers Island.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

Governor Roy Cooper has directed the State Bureau of Investigation to look into possible criminal charges against Chemours, the chemical company behind the release of GenX into the Cape Fear River.

Nichols the loggerhead sea turtle
Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, Topsail Island

An Outer Banks beach nourishment project has caught more sea turtles than expected.

FILE - In a Tuesday June 6, 2017 file photo, hydrologist William K. Jones, walks up a mountain near the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Bolar, Va. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its final environmental impact statement.
Steve Helber, File / AP

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline intended to carry natural gas across West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina would have some adverse environmental effects, including impacts on water resources, forest and other habitats, but most could be reduced to insignificant levels, an assessment by federal regulators found.

noonday globe snail
J. Fridell, USFWS / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/VYtKRW

The historic 2016 wildfires in North Carolina burned almost 100 percent of the known habitat of the noonday globe snail, yet the federally threatened species survived.

a tick on a person's skin
s p e x / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/6oSa18

The number of probable Lyme disease cases in North Carolina has been rising in recent years. The tick-borne bacteria can cause aches and fatigue, as well as serious neurological and muscular disorders.

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