Environment

Catch per unit effort of bull sharks
Charles Bangley / Nature

Researchers say rising sea temperatures have brought more bull sharks to North Carolina. 

A study published on Nature.com says the sharks appear to be moving their reproductive habitats farther north as the Atlantic gets warmer.

North Carolina Air Pollution
Doug Bradley / Flickr

The American Lung Association says North Carolina's particle pollution has improved, but ozone pollution remains an issue in many areas. 

many small photos of plastic objects such as a pizza table or small bag, each photographed next to a ruler
Robin Frohardt

Mandatory recycling is law in some places around the United States, which makes people feel comfortable about their part in saving the planet. But what happens to single-use plastics, like take out containers, grocery bags, and Starbucks cup caps? They end up in the oceans, among other places.

Duke Energy customers in North Carolina will be able to get rebates of up to $6,000 each beginning this summer for installing solar panels on their homes.  The four-year, $62 million rebate program was approved by state regulators last week. It's required under a 2017 state law designed to keep solar power growing in North Carolina.

 Casey Collins, Duke University Energy Manager, inspects a boiler at the West Campus Steam Plant. Soon, these boilers will run on swine biogas instead of natural gas.
James Morrison / WUNC

North Carolina isn’t rich in coal, natural gas or oil deposits, but it has more hogs than nearly any other state. And for many years, people have been trying to figure out a way to turn hog waste into electricity.

Aerial image of Lake Lure, North Carolina
David Dugan / Creative Commons

Lake Lure is high on Hollywood’s call list. The small town in Rutherford County has been the site for blockbuster movies including the 1987 film “Dirty Dancing.” But the community is now facing a critical situation. The dam that makes Lake Lure the idyllic spot that it is, is in urgent need of repairs that may cost up to $5 million.

crab pots
Darren Pullen / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/2frpk5

Commercial fishermen retrieved 3,500 lost crab pots from coastal waters this winter. Storms and boating can cause buoys to separate from these wire cages, which makes the traps hard to find.

A protest sign against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Francine Stephenson's property in Johnston County.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Crews are already cutting trees in Northampton and Robeson counties to make way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the 600-mile-long delivery system that will carry natural gas from West Virginia, across Virginia, and through North Carolina. The pipeline will cut an eight-county, 200-mile-long path across the Tar Heel State with supporters and opponents all along the route.

photo of a man holding a card that says 'asheville is climate city'
Courtesy of The Collider

This month Asheville hosted the first ClimateCon, a conference to explore innovations and business solutions to combat the effects of climate change. The nine-day conference included a business of climate forum, a summit for emerging climate leaders, and community-wide events.

Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it will hold a national conference to look more closely at chemical compounds in water.

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

State regulators are testing fish from a privately-owned lake near the Chemours plant in Bladen County for the presence of GenX, the latest regulatory response to increasing questions about the risks posed by this emerging contaminant.

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

Duke Energy has committed $500,000 to help replace inefficient wood-burning stoves in Western North Carolina.

File photo of sand being removed from highway N.C. 12 on Ocracoke Insland, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011 after Hurricane Irene.
Jim R. Bounds / AP

Parts of North Carolina Highway 12 on the Outer Banks have closed again due to ocean over wash.

photo of Lauret Savoy
Kris Bergbom

Many Americans learn their history through teachers, textbooks and films. Personal histories, however, often come from stories told amongst families. But what if pieces of a personal history are still missing from those stories? And who decides which stories to pass on and which to bury?

A map of Duke Energy's 14 coal ash sites and their operational status in 14 energy plants across the state.
Duke Energy

The North Carolina Utilities Commission will begin hearings on a rate hike request for one subsidiary of Duke Energy after recently approving a 6 percent increase for another.

Map of the east coast showing the outer continental shelf where drilling would occur.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is holding an open house in Raleigh Monday afternoon to solicit public feedback on a plan to open up the coast to oil and gas exploration.

Duke Energy says the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline is on track to open in late 2019, even though it's still awaiting final state and federal approvals. But CEO Lynn Good said delays and more stringent conditions from regulators have pushed the project's price tag up - to between $6 billion and $6.5 billion.

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

State representatives are clearly frustrated with senate colleagues for failing to support house legislation aimed at better regulating emerging chemicals like GenX. But lawmakers will have to wait until the short session in May to take a stab at bridging the gap between the two chambers.

two coyotes
Courtesy of eMammal

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has wrapped up public comment for its draft coyote management plan.

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

North Carolina environmental regulators have ordered a chemical company to take further steps to reduce emissions of chemicals that have questionable health effects.

Photo of Michael Scott at microphone
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Last week state officials held a public forum in Bladen County to share information and address concerns about GenX, the unregulated chemical produced by Chemours that has contaminated drinking water. Many residents said they left with more questions than answers.

Concerned residents gather during a public forum at the Bladen Community College to discuss GenX on February 1, 2018.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Bladen County residents like Kellie Hair were not happy when state officials said it would take more time to figure out the health and environmental impact of GenX and other fluorinated compounds released into the atmosphere by Chemours.

A picture of segments of pipeline.
Harald Hoyer / Creative Commons

Crews have started cutting down trees to make way for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Photo of two women holding signs
Anne Meador / Flickr Creative Commons

After months of deliberation, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has granted an important permit for the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The 401 water quality permit will allow developers Dominion Energy and Duke Energy to construct the pipeline along the I-95 corridor as long as they adhere to certain water quality standards. More permits are required for construction to begin, but opponents were hoping the state would withhold the water permit, which could have stopped construction of the pipeline even with its federal approval.

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

The state Department of Environmental Quality has issued a major permit two energy companies need to build the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Hungry Harvest, Food, Produce, Farmers, Ashley Christensen
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

A new food delivery service in the Raleigh-Durham area specializes in distributing fruits and vegetables with cosmetic imperfections. Evan Lutz is the CEO of Hungry Harvest. Its mission is to rescue produce farmers can’t sell because of a surplus or because it’s just too ugly.

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

For many people in North Carolina, Chemours is synonymous with contamination of drinking water. News surfaced last year that the chemical manufacturer released GenX and other emerging contaminants into the Cape Fear River for years without knowing how they could affect humans. GenX has also ended up in residential wells near the company’s plant in Bladen County.

an offshore drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico
Robert Seale, Maersk Drilling / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/mU1Qdz

Gov. Roy Cooper has vowed to take legal action if the Trump Administration does not exempt North Carolina from offshore oil and gas exploration.

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. 

Nags Head
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein – both Democrats – are calling for the federal government to grant the state a waiver from the Trump Administration’s recently released plan for offshore oil and gas exploration.

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