Dave DeWitt

Reporter @DaveDeWitt

Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Environment Reporter. He came to WUNC in 2003 and spent four years on the staff of The State of Things.

He regularly files for NPR’s news magazines as well as Marketplace and Only A Game. He formerly worked in college athletics, college admissions, and with the Tar Heel Sports Network. In 2001, he wrote the non-fiction book "True Blue".

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Environment
7:52 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Solar Business Is Booming In NC, But For How Long?

A house in Cary, NC with rooftop solar panels.
Credit Yes Solar Solutions

The small warehouse and loading area in the back of the Yes! Solar Solutions building in Cary is empty. And that’s a good thing. On this bright, sunny Fall day, it means all the crews are out on jobs, installing solar panels on houses.

Kathy Miller and her husband Stew started the company in 2009, after selling the Primrose Schools of Cary. They could have done almost anything at that point, but decided to throw their future into solar energy.

Turns out, the pre-school business and the solar business aren’t all that different.

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Environment
1:15 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Coal Ash Commission: Cost Will Be Felt By All

The Coal Ash Management Commission met for the first time on Friday.
Credit Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina Coal Ash Commission has begun the process of creating rules and regulations to manage the cleanup of Duke Energy’s 32 coal ash ponds.

The Commission has a huge job. Among other things, Commission Chair Michael Jacobs made it clear that cost will be a consideration.

“To the extent that cleanup costs are passed on to the residents and businesses of North Carolina through higher power rates, everyone who uses power will share the expense,” Jacobs said.

Duke Energy has said it would cost $10 billion to move coal ash from all sites.

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Environment
6:13 am
Fri November 14, 2014

NC Coal Ash Committee Meets: Here’s One Of The First Decisions Needed

Duke Energy's Dan River coal ash basin.
Credit Steven Alexander, USFWS

The long road to determining how Duke Energy will clean up its 32 coal ash ponds starts today. The Coal Ash Management Commission holds it first meeting in Chapel Hill.

Among the many decisions the Commission will make is classifying the ponds as low, intermediate, or high-risk.

“The classification is really going to drive what the final closure plan looks like,” says Robin Smith, an environmental attorney and a former assistant secretary at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

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Environment
3:48 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Commission Tweaks Fracking Rules

The commission tasked with drafting the rules for hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina is considering some small changes. The Mining and Energy Commission is meeting today and tomorrow in Raleigh.

Over the past several months, the MEC received more than 200,000 comments from nearly 40,000 people. Many wanted an outright fracking ban; others pointed to more specific rule changes they wanted, like requiring pits that store fracking waste to be capped.

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Politics & Government
2:06 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Tillis Defeats Hagan

Thom Tillis
Credit www.thomtillis.com

A little more than a decade ago, Thom Tillis was a resident of the town of Cornelius in northern Mecklenburg county. He wanted a bike trail near his house, and, despite knowing nothing about politics, he lobbied the local parks commission. Soon, he won election to it, then the town council, then the State Legislature three times, until he became speaker.

And then last night, he won a seat in the U.S. Senate.

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Environment
6:14 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Big Tech May Determine Fate Of Renewable Energy In NC

Apple's solar farm in Maiden, NC.
Credit Apple

When Apple makes an announcement – any announcement – the world stops and listens. And while it wasn’t a new product launch, when Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke last month ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, it was a big deal.

“We have a huge data center in Maiden North Carolina,” Cook said. “There were no options to buy renewable energy. Our only way to do that, was to build it.”

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Environment
3:02 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

McCrory To Coastal Commission: Let's Hear Your Plans

The town of Nags Head nourished its beach in 2011.
Credit Dave DeWitt

Governor Pat McCrory met yesterday in Wilmington with the Coastal Resources Commission. The CRC advises state government on zoning, building, and other issues that affect North Carolina’s 20 coastal counties.

It was the first time the Governor had publicly met with the CRC since the State Legislature overhauled it last year. McCrory and Republican leaders in the General Assembly appointed many new members. Frank Gorham, the current chair, works in the oil and gas industry.

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Environment
4:18 am
Mon October 13, 2014

A Mighty Wind, But No Offshore Turbines In NC's Immediate Future

At maximum output, the three wind turbines at Jennette's Pier in Nags Head are capable of providing about half of the facility's power.
Credit Dave DeWitt

Whether it’s in the mountains or off the coast, North Carolina has plenty of wind. It also has a lot of land, suitable ports, and infrastructure to become a major player in the industry along the east coast.

But that hasn’t happened.

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Environment
4:52 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Offshore Oil Drilling Might Be Coming To Carolina Coast

A ship uses seismic air guns to map the ocean floor.
Credit BOEM

As you are reading this, a ship is very likely miles off the North Carolina coast, mapping the ocean floor. It’s part of a National Science Foundation project that’s using seismic testing, blasting sound waves through the waters.

As early as next spring, the very same controversial process will be used by a different interest: The oil and gas industry will begin looking for places it might want to drill.

This past August, the Obama Administration announced it would begin allowing testing for oil and gas reserves off the Atlantic Coast.

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Environment
7:53 am
Thu September 25, 2014

The Science (And Politics) Of Predicting Sea-Level Rise Along The NC Coast

A map shows how various levels of sea-level rise would impact eastern NC.
Credit Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at East Carolina University

In 2010, the Science Panel that advises the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission released a report. It said the state could expect a 39-inch sea-level rise by the end of the century. If that came to pass, it would affect billions of dollars of property along the coast.

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