Environment

Environment
7:52 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Greensboro Awaits First Draft Of New Tree Ordinance

Stumps like this one have become more common in Greensboro neighborhoods. Duke energy says it cuts when necessary. Residents think the company is being too aggressive.
Credit Jeff Tiberii

Some residents in Greensboro are eagerly awaiting the details of a proposed tree ordinance. A city council subcommittee finished the draft for the ordinance this week, but it has not yet been made public.

The new measure comes in response to a dispute between property owners and Duke Energy over the company’s practice of cutting trees.  Nancy Vaughan is an at-large City Council member who helped write the ordinance draft.

"We were able to protect private property as well as public right of way," says  Vaughan.

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Environment
1:30 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Study Shows How Trees Help CREATE Smog

Leaves produce a substance that exacerbates smog, a new study finds.
Credit Laura Candler

A new study from researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has revealed exactly how trees play a role in smog production. The question has been a source of scientific uncertainty for years, and the findings are a milestone in air pollution research, with potentially significant implications for public health.

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Environment
5:37 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Greensboro Air Quality Improving, But Still Receives F-rating

Greensboro received an F-rating for air quality.
Credit Derrick Matthews, via Flickr, Creative Commons

The American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report is out, and it slots Greensboro as the 42nd most polluted metro area in the county.  The city received an F-rating.

Laura-Kate Bender, who worked on the report, says the news wasn’t all bad.

"Despite getting an ‘F,' the area actually got its lowest overall number of smog days," she says. "So even though it received a failing grade, it’s a significant improvement over last year."

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The State of Things
1:10 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

What Is The Future Of Fracking In North Carolina?

A drill rig on a fracking site.
Credit EPA

A panel of guests discusses fracking in North Carolina with host Frank Stasio.

The natural gas extraction process called hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has been a source of debate and contention in the state for quite some time now. It involves drilling horizontally through thousands of feet of shale and blasting the shale with water, sand and chemicals to release natural gas. Several states allow the process, some are in the process of figuring out how to regulate it, and some, like New York, have placed a moratorium on the process due to environmental concerns.

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Fracking North Carolina
5:00 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Fracking North Carolina: Could Neighbors Be Forced To Frack?

A Marcellus Shale drill rig in Pennsylvania used in the fracking process.
Credit Ken Skipper, USGS

Some landowners are worried they could be forced to allow fracking of their land even if they don’t want it. Richard Ziglar reports for the final part of our ‘Fracking North Carolina’ series.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a relatively new technology. It involves drilling horizontally through thousands of feet of shale and blasting the shale with water, sand and chemicals to release natural gas. The state’s Mining and Energy Commission is coming up with new regulations for the gas industry, and revisiting some old ones. Among the most contentious regulations are those for what’s called forced or compulsory pooling.

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Fracking North Carolina
5:00 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Fracking North Carolina: What Do We Do With The Waste?

Ed Harris on his farm in Lee County.
Credit Richard Ziglar

The price of natural gas has fallen to all time lows and is replacing dirtier fuels like coal.  So why are environmentalists so concerned about drilling for natural gas here in North Carolina?  The process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used to release the gas from the surrounding shale rock brings with it its own environmental problems including massive amounts of wastewater. This is the second story in our “Fracking North Carolina” series.

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Fracking North Carolina
7:33 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Fracking North Carolina: Why Now?

Butler #3 natural gas well in Lee County.
Credit Ray Covington

In the first story in our Fracking North Carolina series, Richard Ziglar looks at why some people in North Carolina want to drill for gas now, and what it may mean for the state.

North Carolina has never been a player in natural gas production, but that could change thanks to a new extraction process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Fracking involves cracking shale rock to release natural gas so that it can be pumped out of the ground. This story is the first in a special “Fracking North Carolina” series. 

There’s a North Carolina sound that only a few dozen people have ever heard: gas escaping from a well in Lee County.

Standing in front of a well called Butler #3, you can see that it’s a shut-in well, which means it’s been capped with something called a “Christmas tree.” The Christmas tree is only about five feet tall; it’s painted green and it has three shut-off valves coming out of it. It’s set up this way so people can come back and attach pipes to it, but it has been shut off since the 1990s.

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Environment
5:01 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Progress Energy A Top Producer Of Solar Power Nationwide

One of Progress Energy's solar energy farms in San Antonio, Texas.
Credit Duke Energy/Progress Energy

The North Carolina utility company Progress Energy is among the nations leaders in solar production. Last year the utility company produced almost 70 megawatts of new solar generating capacity. The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) says that’s the 8th highest output of all U.S. utility companies.

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Environment
2:00 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Exploring Local Greenways: Orange County Trails Loved By Young And Old

Walking a dog on Bolin Creek Trail.
Credit Catherine Lazorko, Town of Chapel Hill

Orange County’s population may be smaller than that of its neighboring counties, but its greenways are no less loved. Chapel Hill and Carrboro both tout themselves as bike and pedestrian friendly towns, and Hillsborough has taken pains to create elaborate bicycle and walking routes throughout its downtown area that highlight dozens of historical buildings.  

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Environment
10:18 am
Fri April 19, 2013

More Rainfall Lessens Statewide Drought

State drought map. Yellow counties are abnormally dry, tan counties are moderately dry.
Credit State Division of Water Resources

North Carolina’s drought conditions are better than they were one year ago. Last April, 53 counties were experiencing a moderate drought – the lowest of the four drought categories. This year only eight of the state’s 100 counties are currently receiving that classification.

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