Environment

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

The state Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday it is taking steps to revoke Chemours' wastewater permit for discharging certain fluorinated chemical compounds, including GenX. The Dupont-affiliated company manufactures GenX for use in non-stick surfaces like Teflon.

Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr
Kara Lynne Wiley / WUNC

North Carolina's two Republican senators say they oppose President Donald Trump's pick to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency, putting Michael L. Dourson's nomination at serious risk.

In this Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 file photo, Native people from Fiji sit in the convention center during the opening of the COP 23 Fiji UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.
Martin Meissner / AP Photo

Nearly 200 countries are wrapping up the annual U.N. climate summit in Bonn, Germany this week.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Updated 2:39 p.m. | Nov. 13, 2017

Mike Watters is angry. The military veteran lives in a subdivision about a mile from the center of Fayetteville Works, a plant owned by DuPont affiliate Chemours.

A picture of a diver near a lionfish.
John McCord / UNC Coastal Studies Institute.

Officials with the North Carolina Aquarium are encouraging recreational divers and spear fishermen to hunt invasive lionfish off the coast.

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

This week Brunswick County filed a lawsuit against Chemours and DuPont for their involvement in discharging the contaminant GenX into the Cape Fear River. The lawsuit is seeking to recover the costs to the county for investigating, managing, reducing and removing the chemical.

It is one of several lawsuits against Chemours and DuPont. Last week a Leland resident filed a class action lawsuit against the two companies after she discovered GenX in her water heater.

What if a dam holding back coal ash burst at one of Duke Energy's coal plants in the Carolinas or Midwest? Newly released maps from Duke show many properties would be inundated, including some homes and docks. The maps are now public, after environmentalists threatened to sue. 

The Dismal Swamp will reopen on 10/31/17 after being closed for more than a year because of damage from Hurricane Matthew. The trees have been cleared, but there's a layer of green duckweed now.
Courtesy of the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center

The Dismal Swamp Canal will reopen Tuesday under restricted conditions. The Army Corps of Engineers closed it more than a year ago, after damage from Hurricane Matthew.

Austin Allen / Duke Nicholas School of the Environment

Duke University researchers have new insight into why marine animals are eating plastic.

The Sweeney Water Treatment Plant in Wilmington is part of the Cape Fear Public Utility.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

A utility that provides water in southeastern North Carolina has sued a company it accuses of polluting the Cape Fear River, where the utility gets its water.

Jim Flechtner, Executive Director of Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

New Hanover County Commission Chairman Woody White found out about GenX the same way many others in and around Wilmington did. It was June 8th, and he slept in a little since he was on vacation.

irginia Department of Environmental Quality Firector, David Paylor walks along a retention pond for a spring near the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Bolar, Va.
Steve Helber, File / AP

A divided panel of federal regulators granted approvals Friday evening for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley natural gas pipelines, major East Coast projects.

Great Dismal Swamp
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to reverse more than two centuries of damage to sensitive peat soil in the Great Dismal Swamp.

Greenbelt view from Germany
Nickel van Duijvenboden / Wikimedia Commons -2017

Today the European Green Belt is a stretch of rich and flourishing land in Western Europe that extends north to south for thousands of miles. However, during the Cold War the strip was a no-man’s land that separated the Soviet Union from non-Soviet countries. 

flooding in Raleigh
Gerry Broome / AP

A year ago, Hurricane Matthew dumped a dozen or more inches of rain on central and eastern North Carolina. Record flooding in the days following the storm devastated communities downstream.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Republican lawmakers used their super-majorities Wednesday to override another of Governor Roy Cooper's vetoes.

This time, the General Assembly vetoed an environmental bill that provides some money – but not enough, according to Cooper – to address a little-studied chemical discharged into a river.

An image of overturned chairs outside of West Lumberton Elementary School
Lisa Philip / WUNC

Last October Hurricane Matthew caused more than two dozen deaths in North Carolina. Floods damaged much of the eastern part of the state, and communities are still picking up the pieces.

Controversy Simmers Over NC Wood Pellet Plant

Oct 3, 2017
An Enviva wood pellet plant in Northampton, N.C.
Courtesy of Enviva

A biomass fuel plant that processes tree scraps into wood pellets has some North Carolinians concerned about its potential environmental and health impacts.

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

A special house committee met Thursday in Raleigh to discuss the discharge of unregulated chemicals into the Cape Fear River - but the committee heard more questions than answers about potential health effects.

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.

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