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
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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Environment
3:50 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Environmentalists Push Gov. McCrory To Do More On Coal Ash

Environmental protesters outside the State Capitol.
Credit Dave DeWitt

Environmental groups are putting pressure on Governor Pat McCrory to do more to clean up coal ash across the state. Environment North Carolina delivered a petition with 40,000 signatures to his office today.

Legislation goes into effect today that directs Duke Energy to clean up coal ash at the four pits deemed to be the highest risk. The law gives Duke 15 years to complete the clean-up.

Environmentalists say that doesn’t go far enough.

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Environment
4:00 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Big Energy Changes Could Be Coming To NC

Seismic testing for oil could occur off the North Carolina coast in 2017.
Credit Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

The days of oil rigs off the coast of the Outer Banks is still many years away, if it ever comes. But the state of North Carolina is already making plans that will allow oil companies to use seismic imaging to search for possible oil reserves.

Donald Van der Vaart, the Energy Policy Advisor with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, told the North Carolina Energy Policy Council that seismic testing was last done off the coast of North Carolina in the 1980s.

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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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