Environment

Environment
7:06 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Duke Energy Invests Big In Solar

Strata Solar of Chapel Hill is one of the contractors working with Duke Energy.
Credit Strata Solar

Duke Energy is investing $500 million in solar power generation in North Carolina.

Three new large-scale solar facilities will be built in Bladen, Wilson, and Duplin Counties. The 65 megawatt facility in Duplin will be the largest solar plant east of the Mississippi.

Due to a state law passed in 2007, Duke and other utilities must source at least 12.5 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021.

“We choose solar today because solar is the cheapest renewable energy certificate available to us,” said Duke Energy Vice President Rob Caldwell.

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Environment
5:03 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Red Wolves: A Future In Doubt

Hank, one of two captive red wolves, managed by the Red Wolf Coalition.
Credit Dave DeWitt

Hank and Betty seem like they’re in a pretty good mood today. It’s stopped raining, and the sun is poised to peak out between the loblolly pines that surround their den. And their caretaker, Kim Wheeler, has brought them a snack.

As the director of the Red Wolf Coalition, Wheeler cares for these two captive red wolves at their enclosure just south of Columbia. She often brings groups of tourists here to see the mating pair and learn more about how the species behaves.

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Environment
2:45 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Hofmann Forest Gets A New Prospective Buyer; Lawsuit Remains In Appeals Court

The Hofmann Forest has been used for forestry research for decades. Now, N.C. State University has updated an agreement to sell it to a sustainable timber forestry organization and another company owned by a prominent Midwestern farming family.
Credit Historical State, NCSU Libraries

A new buyer has been added to the sales agreement for the 78,000-acre Hofmann Forest.

N.C. State University plans to sell two-thirds of the property to an Alabama-based sustainable timber company called Resource Management Service. The remaining third will still go to Hofmann Forest, LLC, which is owned by the Walkers, a prominent farming family in Illinois.

NC State spokesman Brad Bohlander says endowment trustees are happy to have the timber company on board.

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Environment
9:19 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Hurricane Season Reaches A Quiet Peak

Hurricane Arthur caused damage on the Outer Banks in July.
Credit National Weather Service / NOAA

Historically, today marks the peak in the Atlantic hurricane season. 

There have been four named storms so far and three of those were hurricanes.  Hurricane Arthur caused damage to eastern North Carolina when it came ashore along the Outer Banks in July.  

Richard Bandy is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Newport.  He said forecasts for a below normal season are proving accurate. 

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Environment
8:34 am
Wed September 10, 2014

NC Governor Won't Block Coal Ash Bill... But He Won't Sign It Either

On Feb. 2, about 39,000 tons of coal ash spilled from a Duke Energy facility into the Dan River, north of Eden, N.C.
Credit Steven Alexander / USFWS

Governor Pat McCrory says he'll allow a coal ash management plan to become law without his signature.

The governor says Duke Energy needs to take action as soon as possible. It needs to take care of the coal ash that's in ponds across the state. But that doesn't mean the governor is happy with the plan.

"I am letting the bill become law without signing it because there are major deficiencies that need to be corrected," he said in a recorded statement.

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Environment
1:47 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Eno River Plagued By Invasive Plant

Hydrilla, an invasive plant found here in the Eno River, first came to the U.S. from Asia.
Credit Dave DeWitt

A state task force will begin work soon to try to control an invasive plant that threatens the Eno River. Hydrilla was first spotted in the southern U.S. in the 1960s.

Hydrilla came to this country from Asia and is especially concentrated on the eastern side of the Eno River State Park, where the water is wide and slow-moving.

The plants are visible just below the surface of the river, like a giant bright green blanket choking off sunlight to the river’s bottom. The plant is spreading at a rate of about a mile a year, and in twelve years could reach Falls Lake.

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Environment
4:22 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Burlington Agrees To Sewage System Improvements

The Haw River is a source of drinking water and recreation.
Credit Haw River Assembly

The City of Burlington will embark on a series of improvements to its wastewater collection system. It’s part of an agreement between the city and various environmental groups. 

Back in January, more than 3.5 million gallons of raw sewage spilled out of a cracked pipe near a wastewater treatment plant and into the Haw River. The Haw River winds through Alamance County and feeds into Jordan Lake, the main source of drinking water for more than a quarter of a million people.

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Environment
4:20 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Complaint Filed With EPA Over Hog Waste Disposal

Environmental advocates say waste from hog farms are posing a health danger to several eastern NC communities, They;re asking the U,S. EPA to help.
Credit Jeff Vanuga, USDA NRCS

Several environmental groups have filed a federal complaint against the state over hog waste. In a filing with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the organizations say North Carolina has failed to enforce rules regulating disposal of hog waste.  

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Environment
4:41 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools Begin Composting Lunch

Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

Schools in Chapel Hill and Carrboro have launched a district-wide composting program in their cafeterias. 

The program started on the first day of classes in 15 elementary and middle schools.  Many individual schools in North Carolina have started composting, but few districts have created their own programs. 

Dan Schnitzer, sustainability coordinator for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, says the schools will be able to use some of the compost their students create.

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Environment
3:36 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

How's The Air In NC? EPA Results Are Here

A reduction of emissions from coal-fired plants like this one have helped North Carolina meet federal air quality standards.
Credit eutrophication&hypoxia / Flickr, Creative Commons

North Carolina is meeting a new national standard for reducing particle pollution. 

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has notified Governor Pat McCrory that it will officially designate that the state is in compliance this coming December. 

State air quality experts say particle pollution can reach dangerous levels at any time during the year. 

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