Environment

solar
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Solar installation companies are calling on Duke Energy and the General Assembly to continue a tax cut they say is key to their future.

When combined with a 30 percent federal tax break, the state’s 35 percent tax credit has propelled North Carolina to become one of the top four states in the country for installed solar capacity, behind only California, Arizona, and New Jersey.

Faith Community Church
NC Warn

By any measure, the solar array on the roof of the Faith Community Church in Greensboro is small. A little more than five kilowatts. It’s barely enough to run the building’s central air conditioning for one hour a day.

The Bonner Bridge connects Bodie and Hatteras Islands on the Outer Banks
ncdot.org

The last legal obstacles have been cleared to begin the process of rebuilding the Bonner Bridge.

Governor Pat McCrory announced today that the final terms have been settled between the state and environmental groups. The 52-year old Bonner Bridge spans the Oregon Inlet.

“This marks another historic milestone in finally replacing the critical lifeline bridge for residents and visitors of the Outer Banks and supporting our continued efforts to connect North Carolina,” McCrory said in a press release. 

Marshall Steam Station
Duke Energy

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has released more test results of water wells near three Duke Energy power plants.

hogs
NC Dept of Agriculture

Farmers gamble millions—sometimes tens of millions —of dollars on the weather every year. When they place their bets on crops and animals, they look at the science, they listen to experts, and sometimes they think about stories their mama used to tell them.

heat index
Climate Central

It’s the south, and it’s August. That means it’s hot. But if you’ve lived here a while and you think it’s worse than usual, you’re right.

This decade (2010-2014) has already had as many 95+ degree days as the Triangle experienced during the entire 1980s. That’s according to an analysis from meteorologist Lee Ringer at News 14 Carolina:  

An image of the Orange Co. Historical Museum
Orange County Historical Museum

 

More than a thousand organizers are expected to gather in Hillsborough Saturday afternoon as a part of a “Southern Heritage Ride/Rally” supporting the Confederate flag.

Coal fired power plant in Wyoming
Greg Goebel / Flickr Creative Commons

Earlier this week the Obama Administration announced its EPA Clean Power Plan that directs states to lower greenhouse gas emissions from coal-burning power plants by around 32 percent by 2030.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nags Head
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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