Environment

Flood Maps
5:00 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Have We Been Overestimating Flood Risk On The Outer Banks?

A preliminary projection of what areas will see gains and reductions in base flood elevation.
Credit NC Department of Public Safety

It would be easy to look at the newest round of floodplain maps and think that we've been wrong about the Outer Banks all this time.

For the past decade, the standard line has been that things on the coast are getting worse. Sea levels are rising; the shoreline is eroding; flooding is becoming a bigger threat. Flood risk is largely determined by a series of maps produced by the state of North Carolina. Those maps then make their way to FEMA, who administer the National Flood Insurance Program. Basically, the higher your risk, the more you pay in flood insurance.

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Weather
5:22 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season Predicted

Hurricane Irene churns through the Caribbean in 2011.
Credit nasa.gov

Preliminary forecasts predict a fairly quiet hurricane season along the Atlantic coast. 

Researchers at Colorado State University expect nine named storms this year.  They say three of those will likely become hurricanes.  The average season produces about six hurricanes. 

Atmospheric science professor Phil Klotzbach says a strong El Niño in the Pacific should dampen hurricane conditions in the Atlantic.

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Environment
5:28 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Why Duke Energy Wanted To Add Chemicals To Trees, And Why They Won't

Trees in Chapel Hill, NC
Credit Laura Candler

Officials with Duke Energy have decided to hold off on a program that would have used a chemical product, Cambistat, to slow the growth of trees near power lines.

Officials with Duke Energy have decided to hold off on a program that would have used a chemical product, Cambistat, to slow the growth of trees near power lines. The utility planned to inject the application into the soil around trees.  The application would slow growth, reduce how often trees near power lines needed to be trimmed, and save money. But residents questioned the risks, and complained that they were being forced into the program. 

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Environment
5:00 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Haw River Listed Among The Nation's Most Endangered Rivers

Haw River at Griffins Crossroads, NC
Credit Todd Martin / Flickr/Creative Commons

A national environmental group says the Haw River is among the most endangered in the nation. Earlier this year a pipe broke in Burlington and 3.5 million gallons of sewage spilled into the Haw. The River flows into Jordan Lake, which provides drinking water for about one million state residents.

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Environment
5:56 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

New Walnut Creek Greenway Trail Will Expand Raleigh's Nature Walk

The newly-dedicated Walnut Creek Greenway Trail in Raleigh includes boardwalks like this one that wind through wetland areas.
Credit City of Raleigh

The city of Raleigh has dedicated the recently-completed final section of the Walnut Creek Greenway Trail. Now more than 15 miles long, the trail winds through the southern part of the city from Lake Johnson to the Neuse River Trail.

Todd Milam is a planner for the city of Raleigh's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department. He says the trail includes nearly a mile of 10-foot-wide boardwalk that takes walkers, runners, and bikers through secluded wetlands.

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Environment
5:00 am
Tue April 8, 2014

'Astonishing:' State Appeals Requirement To Clean-Up Coal Ash

Credit Southern Environmental Law Center

A North Carolina environmental agency is appealing a recent ruling that called for immediate action to stop groundwater contamination, caused by coal ash.

A North Carolina environmental agency is appealing a recent ruling that called for immediate action to stop groundwater contamination, caused by coal ash.

The Environmental Management Commission (EMC) is a state regulatory panel. Its members are currently appointed by three republican lawmakers. Two years ago the EMC said it didn't have the authority to force Duke Energy to clean up the causes of groundwater contamination at 14 sites around the state. Environmentalists filed a lawsuit, claiming the EMC wasn't properly reading or enforcing the law. State judge Paul Ridgeway agreed with that take last month, telling the agency it had authority to mandate that Duke deal with contaminants.

Now, that same agency is appealing the judge's ruling. 

"So the state is now on the same side of this appeal as Duke Energy, defending Duke against our effort to enforce the law against them," said DJ Gerken, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, who called this appeal astonishing. 

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Cape Point
2:40 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Cape Point Closed To Off-Road Vehicles

Cape Point, south of Buxton
Credit Google

One of the most popular sections of the Cape Hatteras seashore is off limits for vehicles for the next few months. The Cape Point area south of Buxton is the migratory home to the piping plover, a nationally- recognized threatened species.

In 2011, the park service implemented a vehicle management plan that requires a 75 foot buffer zone be put up to prevent off-roaders from driving near the birds.

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The State Of Things
12:16 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Effects Of Coal Ash On Local Industries

Cattle. Farmers near the Dan River coal ash spill are worried about the effects on their herds.
Credit Wikipedia

   

Debate over the clean-up of the February coal ash spill that dumped nearly 39,000 tons of potentially toxic waste in the Dan River last February continues. The full effects on tourism and agriculture are not fully known and environmentalists continue to debate the best methods of clean-up. At the same time, a federal investigate examines the relationship between Duke Energy and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC's Greensboro Bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest. 

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Coal Ash
5:07 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Concerns Linger For N.C. Residents After Coal Ash Spill

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A federal criminal investigation is focusing on Duke Energy and a North Carolina state environmental agency. A couple of months ago, as you may recall, a storm water pipe ruptured and poured as much as 39,000 tons of potentially toxic carbon byproduct into the Dan River in North Carolina.

North Carolina Public Radio's Jeff Tiberii reports.

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Environment
8:57 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Changes Coming To The Mountains-To-Sea Trail Across NC

A map of the statewide status of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
Credit Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail

The Mountains-to-Sea-Trail is getting a new coastal plains route that will take it away from the Neuse River.  The new path tracks through an area of geological significance called the Cape Fear Arch.

It'll also add about 150 miles to the length of the trail.   Kate Dixon is executive director of the citizens group Friends of the Mountains to-Sea-Trail.  She says the hikers will see what is considered one of the most important natural areas in the whole northern hemisphere...

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