Environment

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

The North Carolina Senate has passed a bill that would prohibit any state agency from fully complying with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan . The Obama Administration announced the EPA Clean Power Plan earlier this week . It directs each state to develop an individualized plan to cut coal-plant emissions by 32 percent by 2030.

Coal fired power plant
eutrophication&hypoxia via Flickr, Creative Commons

North Carolina state lawmakers and officials are vowing to fight the Obama Administration’s new clean power plant rules.

A picture of an oil rig
BOEM

A conference devoted to the plans and potential issues of offshore oil drilling brought together scientists and policy makers in New Bern on Friday. “ Shaping Our Economic Future: Drilling Off The N.C. Coast ” was sponsored by the North Carolina Coastal Federation. Offshore drilling has been a contentious topic on the coast since the Obama Administration released a five-year plan earlier this year to open the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf to seismic testing and, eventually, offshore oil...

Dave DeWitt

The hunt for the hemlock woolly adelgid begins in an unexpected place, tucked between a golf-course community and the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary. It's hardly the setting for a tree and a pest that prefers cool mountain air.

Neuse River
Dave DeWitt

A public hearing Tuesday at the General Assembly was dominated by speakers asking legislators not to roll back environmental protections.

Neuse River
Dave DeWitt

Just below the Falls Lake dam, the Neuse River is so shallow you can walk across it and barely get your ankles wet. But it’s what is on the far bank that has Matt Starr concerned. He’s the Upper Neuse River Waterkeeper, and he’s pointing across the river at a house, probably built in the 1970s.

An image of shipwreck remains
WHOI

The remains were found more than a mile deep off the coast, undisturbed and full of artifacts that might date back to the American Revolution. Marine scientists from Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of Oregon discovered a shipwreck this week on the Blake Plateau in the western Atlantic Ocean. They were looking for a lost mooring, a place where a ship is secured, that was deployed on a previous research trip in the area in 2012. Expedition leader Cindy Van...

Wind Energy In NC

Jul 16, 2015
Wind turbines
Martin Pettitt / Flickr Creative Commons

A stretch of land that was once called “The Desert” by locals is now the site of a potential new economy in North Carolina: wind energy. And the market for the energy produced by the wind farms already has a buyer : Amazon. Meanwhile, the legislature continues to debate environmental deregulation measures.

View of Atlantic Ocean in early morning in summer, Outer Banks, NC
SCMiller / Wikipedia

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has issued a permit allowing a geophysical imaging company to search from the air for oil and gas deposits over the ocean. The search will be along the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Jim White , President of ARKeX , says he hopes the company's small planes will begin collecting data by the end of the year, adding that it could take up to eight months to put together a map of the region. "It will be a subsurface map that will aid...

wind farm
Dave DeWitt

Locals around here call the flatlands west of Elizabeth City “The Desert.” What was once a swamp was drained by timber companies, and, finally, became farmland. And it’s almost always windy, as farmer Horace Pritchard explains. “If you can see and hear the wind right now, that’s the way the wind blows here 90 percent of the time,” he says.

A pile of discarded computers and other electronics.
Curtis Palmer / Flickr

A bill in the North Carolina House would let computer and television manufacturers off the hook for fees that subsidize recycling of their products. The Senate has already passed the bill, even though it would still ban the items from landfills. Now, recyclers and local governments are worried how they'll afford costly disposal. North Carolina still charges advance disposal fees for tires and appliances to keep them out of landfills. Orange County Solid Waste Planner Blair Pollock says that...

The Discovery Communications Building in Silver Spring, Maryland decorated for Shark Week in August 2012.
Farragutful / Wikipedia

The Discovery Channel's Shark Week marathon starts this week. But UNC Communications researchers say the footage showing sharks acting like vicious predators can be misleading. Suzannah Evans and Jessica Gall Myrick co-authored a study of people's responses to Shark Week footage. Evans, a doctoral candidate, says they found that viewers assumed they were more likely to be attacked by a shark than they really are.

Evans says sharks are necessary for the ocean's ecosystem. But they...

Nags Head
Dave DeWitt

A new paper focused on sea-level rise along the North Carolina coast largely backs up the findings outlined in the most recent draft report from the Coastal Resources Commission’s Science Panel, with one significant difference. The paper, “ Past and Future Sea Level Rise Along The Coast Of North Carolina ,” was written by several out-of-state researchers. They found that sea levels will rise a few inches along the state’s southern coastline between now and 2045 and as much as a meter on the...

An image of a beach access sign
DearEdward / Wikimedia Commons

You're driving down Highway 58 on Emerald Isle near Atlantic Beach. The air conditioner in your car just broke, you can only pick up one AM radio station, and the kids in the backseat are halfway through “99 Bottles of Root Beer on the Wall.” You need to find a beach and quick. Take a deep breath, pull over to the side of the road and whip out your phone. A new site from the state’s Division of Coastal Management now offers an interactive map of public beach and waterfront accesses for...

Image of a sweat bee on button snakeroot
Barbara Driscoll

Bees are vital to the American food system. Honey bees alone contribute more than $15 billion to the American economy through pollination of plants that produce fruits, nuts and vegetables. But there has been a significant loss of pollinators over the past few decades due to pesticide prevalence, loss of habitat, and exposure to monoculture crops. The White House recently responded to the growing concerns with a new strategy plan . While much of the national attention has focused on honey bee...

red wolf
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The Red Wolf Recovery program in eastern North Carolina will continue – at least for now. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the 27-year old program will require some changes and further review. The agency will not release new animals into the wild while it studies the program further. About 50-75 wild red wolves currently roam a five-county area on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula. “There will likely be some who will suggest we are walking away from recovery efforts for...

Dry soil image
Darren Hester / https://www.flickr.com/photos/grungetextures/4187619970

Parts of North Carolina have slipped into drought for the first time in two years. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources says the drought extends from the Triad to Charlotte and points west .

Jamie Kritzer is a spokesman for DENR.

"People need to pay close attention to what's happening in their areas and follow any water restrictions that are being put in place in those local areas," Kritzer says. "Of course, it's always a good idea for people to...

Image of Joel Bourne
Andrew Tie / WUNC

Eastern North Carolina native Joel Bourne was living down the road from his family farm at the end of the Green Revolution in the mid-20th century. At that time, newly modified wheat seeds produced an agricultural boom that allowed farmers across the world to grow more crops than ever before. It was the answer to a growing crisis of food scarcity. But it also meant the crops would need more pesticides than ever before. Bourne immediately noticed the strong connection between food and the...

An image of the sun
Dominik Hundhammer / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:India_Goa_Fort_Chapora_Chapora_River.jpg

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for 17 counties in the eastern and southeastern part of the state today. The heat index could reach 105 degrees in the Sand Hills by early this evening. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services warns that these high temperatures put people —especially the elderly, the very young, and those on specific medications —at risk for heat stroke.

A picture of a fan.
Mikael Leppä / https://www.flickr.com/photos/54544400@N00/5925014448

North Carolina is in the heat of the summer, just take a look at the thermometer. In the Sand Hills, the temperatures are in the triple digits. National Weather Service Meteorologist Tim Armstrong said this is the hottest weather the Fayetteville area has seen in three years, and that temperatures could climb to 104 degrees Tuesday. Armstrong said because of the humidity, it could feel more like 110 degrees, and that is a dangerous.

"Heat stroke can result from that, so obviously...

An image of Herbert C. Bonner Bridge
Smkybear / Wikimedia Commons

The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge is old — 52 years old, to be exact. Since 1963, the aging Bonner Bridge has connected the Oregon Inlet to Rodanthe in Dare Co. and served as a link from Hatteras Island to the mainland. After years of repairs and legal tangles , the bridge is now being replaced by a new parallel bridge.

Albert Kok / Wikimedia Commons

Two teens survived a shark attack Sunday on Oak Island. The 16-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl were attacked separately about 90 minutes apart from each and suffered severe injuries to their left arms. Just last week, a shark attacked another teen on Ocean Isle Beach in Brunswick Co. Since 2005, North Carolina has seen 25 shark attacks . While none of these attacks have been fatal , they have resulted in serious injuries. North Carolina's hot summer months are a prime time to hit the beach,...

A picture of Jay Faison.
SnapAV

A conservative tech entrepreneur has created a foundation dedicated to finding clean-energy solutions to the climate crisis. Jay Faison has several defining characteristics. He is a Republican, a member of a wealthy Charlotte family , and a supporter of GOP campaigns in North Carolina and nationally. Faison founded the ClearPath Foundation in December, and recently announced that he is giving $175 million to a campaign to get Republicans talking about market-based solutions to climate change.

vibracore
Dave DeWitt

For a coastal geologist, a vibracore is like a time machine. As a generator vibrates a long aluminum tube, Professor Antonio Rodriguez and his two graduate students force it deep into the Onslow Beach sand. When they pull it up a few minutes later, it reveals several thousand years of history. “We can see how the barriers evolved through time based on these cores,” says Rodriguez, from the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences . “So what’s happening is the barrier is moving landward....

Solar Panels
Strata Solar

The North Carolina General Assembly is considering legislation to limit the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards. Proponents say tax incentives and government mandates for renewable energy are crucial to continued growth in revenue and jobs. Several large companies like Google and Facebook have urged the legislature not to roll back the measures. Opponents say solar businesses costs the state more than they generates and taxpayers end up footing the bill. Host Frank Stasio talks with Zoe...

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