Environment

Politics & Government
8:04 am
Thu July 3, 2014

NC House, After Heated Debate, Tentatively Approves Coal Ash Bill

The cleanup for the 2008 Tennessee coal ash disaster. Image taken March 2012.
Credit Appalachian Voices / via Creative Commons/Flickr

At the General Assembly, lawmakers are getting close to finalizing a bill outlining the future of Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash ponds. Lawmakers have been looking into the situation since February, when 39,000 tons of ash leaked from one pond and coated the Dan River with gray sludge.

The issue of 100 million tons of coal ash in ponds across the state has been slowly growing over the past century.

Utility companies burned coal to generate electricity, cooled off the ashes by mixing them with water, and dumped them into unlined ponds.

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The State of Things
11:07 am
Tue July 1, 2014

A Fictional Trilogy Explores Nature's Secrets

"Authority" is the second book in The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer

Host Frank Stasio talks with author Jeff VanderMeer

    

Author Jeff VanderMeer dreamed he was walking down a tunnel where words were appearing on the wall.

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The State of Things
12:26 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Air Quality Shapes Public Health

Credit Doug Bradley / Flickr

Duke professor Dr. H. Kim Lyerly and News & Observer reporter Sarah Wheeler talk about Air Quality

  

Stronger emission controls in North Carolina are closely associated with declining death rates from respiratory illnesses like asthma and emphysema, according to a Duke University study released this week. 

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Environment
5:00 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Study: Air Quality Restrictions Linked With Improved Respiratory Health

New research from Duke University shows a link between air quality restrictions and improved respiratory health in North Carolina.
Credit Doug Bradley / Flickr

Duke University researchers have found a connection between state and federal air pollution restrictions and improved public health in North Carolina.

Duke Surgery Professor H. Kim Lyerly and his team evaluated disparate data from air quality monitoring stations and health statistics between 1993 and 2010. Lyerly said air quality improved, and so did respiratory health.

Accounting for seasonal changes and an overall drop in smoking, Lyerley said annual emphysema-related deaths dropped from 12-per-100,000 people, to five. Asthma and pneumonia-related deaths decreased, too.

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The State of Things
11:54 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Three Decades Of North Carolina Wilderness

Pisgah National Forest
Credit Flickr

A conversation with professor Robert Cox about N. C. Wilderness

Thirty years ago today, President Ronald Reagan signed the North Carolina Wilderness Act which protected nearly 100,000 acres of wilderness in the state. Robert Cox, former president of the Sierra club, was instrumental in the law’s passage.

He toured the state showing the following slideshow on the importance of wilderness. It was digitized by the North Carolina Sierra Club as part of the project, Our Wild North Carolina.

Of course, the North Carolina Wilderness Act was controversial at the time, just as many environmental issues are today. Human industry has historically locked horns with the rest of nature.

Today, Cox is a professor of communication studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he studies the rhetoric of environmentalism and social change. 

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Environment
3:35 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

A Mystery Tree Grows In Chapel Hill

The coastal redwood in Chapel Hill.
Credit Parth Shah

For most people, taking care of the front yard means cutting the grass every few weeks.

But for Bill Massengale, lawn care involves looking after the lofty California coastal redwood growing in the front yard of his law office on Columbia Street.

“When we bought the place we were told that the only thing we had to do was to make sure nothing happens to the redwood,” Massengale says. “It’s one of my chief duties in life."

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Environment
11:50 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Bear Spotted In Raleigh, 'Looking For A Place To Live'

Credit Casey Brown / Flickr/Creative Commons

Early Monday, officials were tracking a bear in the Five Points area of Raleigh. WRAL reported that information about the bear began to come in after midnight.

A mailman working in the area told WRAL News that a couple reported seeing the bear near a home under construction at the corner of Carroll and Whitaker Mill Road.

 

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The State of Things
2:09 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Dreams Of Disaster and Redemption

Book cover for The 53rd Parallel
Credit lightmessages.com

A conversation with author Carl Nordgren

  

"The 53rd Parallel" (Light Messages Publishing/2013) is the first novel in a series about the historic, yet little known, contamination of the English River. It was the largest mercury poisoning event in North American history, bringing devastation to the many Ojibway people native to the area. 

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Environment
9:00 am
Thu June 5, 2014

'SolarBees' Poised To Hit Jordan Lake Next Month

A SolarBee
Credit Medora Corporation

The Army Corps of Engineers is wrapping up the environmental impact review of a $1.4 million plan to put solar powered water mixers (also known as SolarBees) on Jordan Lake to break up algae.

Last year, the General Assembly decided to delay implementation of rules that would restrict development around the lake to reduce contaminated runoff. Instead, they had the Department of Environment and Natural Resources spend $400,000 on 36 SolarBees to churn the water and prevent chlorophyll a, which is linked to algae blooms, from building up.

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Health
8:39 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Here's What A Rip Current Looks Like From The Beach

It's National Rip Current Awareness Week.
Credit Pubdog / Wikipedia

It’s National Rip Current Awareness Week. 

Rip currents killed at least seven people along the North Carolina coast last year, according to the National Weather Service.

Spencer Rogers is a specialist on shore erosion for North Carolina Sea Grant.  He says rip currents are a natural phenomenon that happen when narrow currents of water flow away from the coast.

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