Dave DeWitt

Managing Editor for News

Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Managing Editor for News. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.

He has filed storites 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".


Ways to Connect

Gov. McCrory Office

Two weeks after announcing plans to open a new global operations center in Charlotte, PayPal has announced it will move the facility to another state.

Green Swamp
The Nature Conservancy

Eastern North Carolina is a part of one of the most ecologically diverse locations on the planet. But because of human activity, it is also one of the most threatened.

Thanks to those two factors, the entire North American Coastal Plain – stretching from Cape Cod to northern Mexico - has been designated as one of three-dozen global biodiversity hotspots.

Tom Augspurger (l), USFWS, taking core sample during February 8th reconnaissance of Dan River coal ash spill. (l-r) Tom Augsperger, USFWS, John Fridell, USFWS, Rick Smith, Duke Energy. Photo by Steve Alexander, USFWS..
Steve Alexander / USFWS

The state Department of Environmental Quality has issued a $6.6 million fine against Duke Energy for violations associated with the Dan River Coal Ash spill two years ago.

US Embassy Canada / Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina is one of the leading states in solar energy. 

But the recent elimination of some tax credits and the possibility of solar permitting may slow the growth of solar energy in the state. And the Department of Environmental Quality is considering a change to the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards that could affect renewable energy production in the state. 

coal ash
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

February is a big month for Duke Energy to move coal ash out of its Dan River site.

With a new two-mile rail spur in place and machines moving material from large “ash stacks” – soil-covered mounds of coal ash - Duke Energy expects to double its current rate of progress.

Dan River
Steven Alexander, USFWS

An advisory board created by Duke Energy says nearly all of the company’s coal ash ponds in North Carolina can safely be capped in place.

The National Ash Management Advisory Board was created by Duke Energy a few months after the Dan River spill. It is made up of engineering faculty from across the country and executives from the private sector.

Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina Supreme Court has sided with Governor Pat McCrory in a case against leaders in the General Assembly.

Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A key energy advisory commission today pushed back a decision on adding nuclear power to a list of approved energy sources, and create a new Clean Energy Portfolio Standard that would replace the current standard based on renewable energy.

Snow plow clearing the road

WUNC's complete coverage of the winter storm's timeline, impact, and ongoing closures and power outages.  Check back throughout the day and evening.

coal ash
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Duke Energy is the largest electric utility in the country, with nearly $25 billion in annual operating revenue. And on a cold, blustery day at its Dan River site, that corporate power is on display.

Massive machines–40-ton trucks, front-end-loaders, and bulldozers–are moving in perfect synchronization, loading coal ash and soil into rail cars.

“This is priority one for Duke Energy right now,” says Jeff Brooks, a Duke Energy spokesman. “This is the most important thing that many of us have worked on for several years now. We have an army of engineers and technical staff that have developed the closure plans for these sites.”

mid-currituck bridge

A controversial bridge project that would make the northern Outer Banks more accessible could happen earlier than expected.

The Mid-Currituck Bridge has been on the drawing board for years. The seven-mile bridge would cross the Currituck sound and link Corolla to the mainland.

The State Department of Transportation heard a proposal for a quicker timeline for bridge construction earlier this month. Gov. Pat McCrory outlined the fast-tracking of the project in November.

NC Wildlife Resources Commission

North Carolina’s hunters may soon get a chance to bag a gator.

The State Wildlife Resources Commission is considering adding alligators to the list of "huntable" animals.

According to the best guess by biologists, the number of alligators has risen steadily in North Carolina in recent years. An exact number of the stealthy, largely nocturnal reptiles is very hard to determine.

Oil drilliing

A new economic assessment is the latest effort in the ongoing fight over possible oil exploration off the North Carolina coast.

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

A standing-room-only crowd packed a state government board room in Raleigh last night to express their thoughts on North Carolina’s commitment to climate change.

A SolarBee
Medora Corporation

North Carolina is home to seven natural lakes. Jordan Lake—despite its name—is not one of them. It’s a reservoir, created in 1974.

And almost from the day it was first dammed, Jordan Lake has been impaired.

Dave DeWitt

Enviva, the embattled wood-pellet manufacturer, has announced a $5 million conservation program designed to save some of North Carolina’s environmentally sensitive forests.

Enviva has been under fire from critics for using whole hardwood trees to make the majority of the wood pellets it produces, instead of wood waste. At its two plants in North Carolina, more than 85 percent of the wood comes from hardwood trees.

Kathy Bosiak
Climate Generation

The main goal of the U.N. Climate Talks in Paris this week and next is to negotiate international efforts to deal with the climate crisis. But it will also serve as a learning experience for future generations.

Dave DeWitt

Trucks carrying long logs stream into the wood pellet plant on the edge of Ahoskie all day, every day. The facility, owned by a company called Enviva, was an abandoned saw mill just five years ago. Now, it towers over the adjacent Wal-Mart and Hardees, spewing white smoke.

Along the fence that encircles the plant, logs are stacked 40-feet high. Longleaf pine, southern red oak, white ash - pretty much every tree species that grows in the southeast could be used to make wood pellets.

Judge Arnold Jones
NC Innocence Inquiry Commission

North Carolina Superior Court Judge Arnold Ogden Jones II has been charged with trying to bribe an FBI agent to collect text messages between two phone numbers in what the judge said was a family matter.

Greg Fishel

Broadcast meteorologists on local television have one job. It’s simple to express but difficult to do well. Predict the future, a few days at a time.

To be an effective forecaster, a broadcast meteorologist has to be a scientist. And because it’s TV, she or he also has to be likable and trustworthy.

Greg Fishel of WRAL is all of those things. He also used to be a global warming denier. Now, he admits he was wrong.

John Fennebresque
Dave DeWitt

John Fennebresque has resigned his seat on the UNC Board of Governors, effectively immediately. An attorney from Charlotte, Fennebresque had served as Board Chair since 2014.

Last year, he oversaw a controversial review of UNC academic centers that some called politically motivated. It eventually led to the closing of the UNC-Chapel Hill Law School’s Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity, among others.

Duke Energy
Duke Energy

Duke Energy has announced it will buy Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 billion dollars in cash.

Piedmont Natural Gas serves customers in almost every area of the state, outside the Triangle. Both companies are headquartered in Charlotte.

“This transaction consolidates our critical natural gas and power infrastructure into one company to greatly enhance customer service, safety, integrity, and reliability,” said Piedmont CEO Tom Skaines in a conference call.

North Topsail Beach
North Topsail Beach

North Topsail Beach officials are hoping the federal government will help rebuild after coastal flooding associated with Hurricane Joaquin washed away about $15 million in sand there.

FEMA officials visited the area twice in the last two weeks. They will decide if a federal disaster declaration is warranted. If granted, federal money will be used to replenish sand and rebuild dunes along the coastline.

Margaret Spellings
Dave DeWitt

Margaret Spellings has spent her professional life in the eye of the political storm. She served President George W. Bush as Education Secretary and political advisor. And now that she’s the choice of the UNC Board of Governors to be the new UNC system president, it’s not going to get any less windy.

First, let’s start with those who believe they have hired a quote “game-changer.”

UNC Board of Governors
Dave DeWitt

The UNC Board of Governors is meeting behind closed doors Friday in Cary amid strong disagreements over the search for a new system president.