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

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.

Aziz Sancar
Dave DeWitt

Aziz Sancar and Paul Modrich have both devoted their professional lives to DNA repair. That might seem like a small enough area of research that, if two of the most important scientists in the field live and work a few miles apart, they would be frequent collaborators.

Dave DeWitt

To a visitor, the hog houses down a dusty dirt road outside Magnolia, North Carolina look like any other hog houses.

Here in Duplin County, there are low-slung buildings like this one around every bend, filled with hundreds of thousands of hogs. But this facility is different—just how different can be found down the hill behind the building.

Manure, flowing from the hog house, falls out of a pipe and into an open-air cement tank. From here, it goes to a much larger, circular, blue tank called a digestor.


North Carolina is one step closer to offshore wind turbines. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management - the federal agency that supervises offshore wind power development as well as offshore oil drilling - announced earlier today the completion of an environmental review of three potential sites off the North Carolina coast.

BOEM found no significant environmental or socioeconomic issues that should stop the issuing of wind energy leases.

Dave DeWitt

The dank, dark tunnel deep inside the Cowans Ford Dam—about 100 feet or so below the water line of Lake Norman north of Charlotte—is where I learn a little-known fact.

All dams leak.

Jeff Lineberger, Duke Energy’s director of Hydro Strategy and Licensing, and Mike Williams, the Cowans Ford facility director, smile and patiently explain to a novice the small waterfalls cascading down a staircase and into a trough alongside the tunnel.

Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The 429-page state budget, released just before midnight Monday, contains plenty of provisions that will affect the future of the environment in North Carolina.


The General Assembly may halt an effort by the state agency tasked with managing fisheries to limit flounder catches.

Last month, the Marine Fisheries Commission was supposed to vote on setting limits on southern flounder, a staple on restaurant menus across the state and a $4.8 million business for commercial fishermen.

Those limits included raising the minimum size limit to 15 inches, implementing a total allowable catch limit for commercial harvest, the prohibition of large-mesh gill nets and no further reductions to the recreational limits.

Allen plant
Duke Energy

Duke Energy has settled a landmark lawsuit over air pollution at coal-burning power plants in North Carolina.

The suit was first filed in 2000 by the U.S. Justice Department, on behalf of the EPA. They alleged that Duke Energy violated the federal Clean Air Act by unlawfully modifying 13 coal-fired electricity generating units located at the Allen, Buck, Cliffside, Dan River, and Riverbend plants, without obtaining air permits and installing and operating the required air pollution control technologies.

Jordan Lake, Durham, NC
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Two proposals in the State Legislature would have a significant impact on the so-called Jordan Lake Rules. The rules were passed in 2009 and were designed to reduce polluted runoff into the lake, among other regulations. Jordan Lake has been on the federal list of impaired waterways since 2002.

One provision in the current Senate budget would delay the implementation of the Jordan Lake Rules for two years. The rules have been delayed previously in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

red wolf
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Conservation groups notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today that they intend to sue the federal agency over its management of the Red Wolf Recovery Program.

The groups say the Fish and Wildlife Service has failed in its responsibility to protect red wolves. The nearly 30-year old program is an effort to re-introduce the animals that were extinct in the wild.

The North Carolina Attorney General’s office has announced it will not retry a white police officer who shot an unarmed African-American man in Charlotte. Officer Randall Kerrick shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell in 2013 after responding to a breaking-and-entering call.

The voluntary manslaughter trial of Kerrick ended in a mistrial last week. The hung jury was stuck at 8-to-4 in favor of an acquittal.

Black Tip sharks feed on the coast near Cape Lookout.
Shark Attack News

When Virginia Dare, America’s original “anchor baby,” was born on Roanoke Island in the 1500s, top-level predators were everywhere in the area now known as North Carolina.

Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Solar installation companies are calling on Duke Energy and the General Assembly to continue a tax cut they say is key to their future.

When combined with a 30 percent federal tax break, the state’s 35 percent tax credit has propelled North Carolina to become one of the top four states in the country for installed solar capacity, behind only California, Arizona, and New Jersey.

Faith Community Church
NC Warn

By any measure, the solar array on the roof of the Faith Community Church in Greensboro is small. A little more than five kilowatts. It’s barely enough to run the building’s central air conditioning for one hour a day.

The Bonner Bridge connects Bodie and Hatteras Islands on the Outer Banks

The last legal obstacles have been cleared to begin the process of rebuilding the Bonner Bridge.

Governor Pat McCrory announced today that the final terms have been settled between the state and environmental groups. The 52-year old Bonner Bridge spans the Oregon Inlet.

“This marks another historic milestone in finally replacing the critical lifeline bridge for residents and visitors of the Outer Banks and supporting our continued efforts to connect North Carolina,” McCrory said in a press release. 

Marshall Steam Station
Duke Energy

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has released more test results of water wells near three Duke Energy power plants.

NC Dept of Agriculture

Farmers gamble millions—sometimes tens of millions —of dollars on the weather every year. When they place their bets on crops and animals, they look at the science, they listen to experts, and sometimes they think about stories their mama used to tell them.

heat index
Climate Central

It’s the south, and it’s August. That means it’s hot. But if you’ve lived here a while and you think it’s worse than usual, you’re right.

This decade (2010-2014) has already had as many 95+ degree days as the Triangle experienced during the entire 1980s. That’s according to an analysis from meteorologist Lee Ringer at News 14 Carolina:  

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

The North Carolina Senate has passed a bill that would prohibit any state agency from fully complying with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

The Obama Administration announced the EPA Clean Power Plan earlier this week. It directs each state to develop an individualized plan to cut coal-plant emissions by 32 percent by 2030.

Rick Brajer
Dave DeWitt

Governor Pat McCrory announced Wednesday Aldona Wos is resigning from her position as the secretary of the state's Department of Health and Human Services.

Pat McCrory
Dave DeWitt

The state House Finance Committee passed a $4 billion transportation and infrastructure package Tuesday morning. 

Coal fired power plant
eutrophication&hypoxia via Flickr, Creative Commons

North Carolina state lawmakers and officials are vowing to fight the Obama Administration’s new clean power plant rules.

A picture of an oil rig

A conference devoted to the plans and potential issues of offshore oil drilling brought together scientists and policy makers in New Bern on Friday. “Shaping Our Economic Future: Drilling Off The N.C. Coast” was sponsored by the North Carolina Coastal Federation.

Dave DeWitt

The hunt for the hemlock woolly adelgid begins in an unexpected place, tucked between a golf-course community and the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary. It's hardly the setting for a tree and a pest that prefers cool mountain air.