Environment

Environment
8:01 am
Wed August 27, 2014

NC Prepares To Fine Duke Energy For Pollution At Two Coal Ash Ponds

Duke Energy's 33 coal ash ponds and their operational status in 14 energy plants across North Carolina
Credit Duke Energy

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources plans to fine Duke Energy for groundwater contamination from two coal ash ponds near Wilmington.

State officials decided to fine Duke as they wait for the outcome of legal action against the utility company.

In lawsuits filed last summer, officials say Duke has illegally leaked toxic chemicals like thallium from coal ash ponds.

These are 33 basins across North Carolina full of ash left over from burning coal. Two of these basins are at the L.V. Sutton Electric Plant in New Hanover County.

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Transportation
9:38 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Alternate Route For Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry Becomes Permanent

Credit NCDOT

A new, longer ferry route between Hatteras and Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks is now permanent. 

Officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and the North Carolina Department of Transportation made the announcement Monday. 

Tim Hass of the state Ferry Division says the original shorter route continues to be a problem.

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NC Outer Banks
3:25 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Predicting When Turtles Will Hatch Could Help Outer Banks Economy

When a turtle nest is found, park rangers excavate the nest, inventory the eggs and mark out the nests with a 30-foot square enclosure. (National Park Service)

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 3:34 pm

Every year on Cape Hatteras National Seashore, female sea turtles return to the beaches where they were born to lay the next generation. The turtle digs a hole in the sand with her back flippers, lays her eggs, covers the nest and heads back into the ocean.

This summer, researchers report finding a healthy number of sea turtle nests — a good thing, since they are a “threatened” species.

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Environment
9:03 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Fewer Turtle Nests Found On Cape Hatteras This Year - Why Scientists Aren't Worried

A loggerhead hatchling makes it's way to the ocean at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Credit USFWS/Southeast

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore researchers found at least 121 turtle nests since May. That's about half the record number of nests found last summer.

But Research Coordinator Britta Muiznieks says this year's count is average and she's not worried.

"Sea turtles don't nest every year. They nest every two to three years. There are no alarm bells going off because our numbers are declining compared to last year," she says.

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Environment
6:29 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

NC's Fracking Rules: Public Comment Hearing Tonight In Sanford

A drill rig in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale.
Credit Ken Skipper, USGS

State officials are holding a hearing in Sanford today on proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing. Hundreds are expected to attend.

Fracking is a form of shale gas extraction, and it's controversial, among other things, because of it's a serious contamination threat to drinking water.

So as the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission shares its proposed rules for the industry, many people are interested. Earlier this week, hundreds packed an auditorium at N-C State in Raleigh.

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Environment
10:30 am
Tue August 19, 2014

[VIDEO] One-Of-A-Kind NC Camp Teaches Basics Of Wildlife Field Research

Campers at the NC Zoo in Asheboro learn to use radio telemetry
Credit NC Zoo

A dozen lucky kids tented overnight on the grounds of the NC Zoo recently. They were taking part in a one-of-a-kind summer camp. Carol Jackson tagged along with a video camera.

Usually when kids camp overnight at a zoo they look closely at the animals and learn from the keepers, or maybe the veterinarians.

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Environment
2:19 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Using Urban Design To Combat Climate Change

Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill
Credit Town of Chapel Hill

Forestry experts and urban designers are gathering in Raleigh this week to discuss the effects of climate change on the urban landscape. The North Carolina Urban Forestry Conference is centered on how to design city spaces to cope with and help prevent rising temperatures.

It's not just about finding more places for shade trees (though that's something forestry types would certainly applaud). Scientists are also considering how to combat an increase in pests that prey on trees not suited for greater temperatures.

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Environment
11:42 am
Tue August 12, 2014

What's Next For Offshore Wind In North Carolina?

Credit Board of Ocean Energy Management

On Monday, the Obama administration announced about 300,000 acres of land of the North Carolina coast that will be explored for possible offshore wind development. The announcement includes three locations for potential development - two near Wilmington and one about 30 nautical miles off the coast of Kill Devil Hills.

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Animals
12:50 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

[VIDEO] Newborn Lion Cubs At NC Zoo

On July 30,2014 the North Carolina Zoo’s female lion Mekita and male lion Reilly welcomed four cubs.
Credit NC Zoo

July 30, a lion gave birth to four cubs at The North Carolina Zoo. It's the first birth since October 2006. The four cubs are not on exhibit now, but the zoo has made a behind-the-scenes video of them available. They are with mother Mekita:

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Environment
11:54 am
Mon August 4, 2014

[VIDEO] Would You Be A Foster Family For Bees? 45 Said Yes So Far

This little girl is posing at her grandmother's home in Chapel Hill. She made the sign behind her to welcome the bees.
Credit Carol Jackson

Marty Hanks loves everything about bees. He manages colonies in several counties around the state. If bees are bugging you, he will  remove them for free. But what makes Marty's business unique is not just that he removes the bees -- many beekeepers do that.

It's  that he finds foster families for them.

WUNC's Carol Jackson reports:

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