Environment

A year after a construction crew accidentally cut power to the Outer Banks, Ocracoke is taking advantage of cheaper solar panels and batteries to make its own energy right on the tiny island. 

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

The Chemours Company will stop providing bottled water to hundreds of residents whose well water has been tainted by the chemical GenX.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

A chemical manufacturer responsible for contaminating residential wells in Bladen, Cumberland and Robeson counties has offered to install filtration systems in some affected homes. But state regulators say it's too soon to take that step.

Hogs in a large-scale farming barn.
Public Domain

The federal judge who's managing a series of North Carolina lawsuits accusing the world's largest pork company of creating nuisances for rural neighbors is being temporarily replaced.

Image of pipeline path
U.S. Energy Information Administration / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal judges rejected two key permits Monday in a move that may impede construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile project to transport natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina by way of Virginia. 

Courtesy of Cathy Williams / Duke Lemur Center

The vast majority of lemur species are under threat, according to a new review from a group of international conservationists. The group convened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature found that of 111 known species and subspecies of lemur, 105 of them, or 95 percent, face a high risk of extinction. 

Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Public hearings on environmental issues are often publicized in the back of the newspaper and roundly ignored. But amidst alarm over GenX and other contaminants in the Cape Fear River, Columbus County residents showed up in droves to two public meetings on the proposed use of methyl bromide in a local logging operation. 

File photo of a pile of logs.
Rick Payette / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/9F8tjX

State regulators are getting ahead of federal policies in an effort to control a toxic pollutant used in preparing logs for export to China.

Just two weeks after Duke Energy began taking applications for new solar energy rebates, the program has run out of money for homeowners and businesses for this year. 

Estimate of how many properties in a five state region have lost value.
First Street Foundation

Due to seal level rise flooding, owners in the Carolinas have lost nearly $1.7 billion in property values since 2005.

File photo of plastic straws.
Alex Brown / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/8bjPGB

Some North Carolina bars and restaurants are are phasing out the use of plastic straws because drinking straws are not recyclable and often make their way to the ocean, where they can injure marine life.

The Northampton County site where an Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station is being built.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Federal regulators are allowing work on the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline to expand in North Carolina.

File photo of a smiling alligator.
Photo Kent / Flickr - Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/bBxRbp

For the first time in decades, some hunters will get the chance to harvest an alligator in select parts of Hyde County this fall. Alligators are federally listed as a threatened species, because of their similar appearance to the American Crocodile, prized for its skin.

Courtesy of Martha Quillin / News & Observer

When Hurricane Matthew flooded low-lying areas across Eastern North Carolina in October 2016, thousands of people were displaced. As Martha Quillin writes in the News & Observer, it wasn’t just the living who moved.

A copperhead snake
Jeff Beane

With warmer weather and more outdoor activities comes the increase in snake sightings in North Carolina. There are nearly 40 species of snakes in the state with one of the most common being the copperhead. Despite the fact that there are copperheads in every county in North Carolina, there are still a lot of misconceptions and myths about them says herpetologist Jeff Beane

One of Progress Energy's solar energy farms.
Duke Energy / Progress Energy

North Carolina joined California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas in seeing the greatest total increases in solar energy generation from 2008 to 2017, according to a report released Tuesday by Environment North Carolina Policy and Research Center.

Steve Partridge

North Carolina is littered with tens of thousands of abandoned mobile homes. And a UNC researcher says a state program designed to get rid of these eyesores has barely made a dent in the problem.

A protest sign brought by Rebekah Cain Saenz sits on a platform in front of Chemours' President of Flouroproducts Paul Kirsch during a community meeting hosted by the chemical company Chemours at Faith Tabernacle Christian Center in St. Pauls, N.C. on Tue
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Chemours and state regulators may not see eye to eye on a long-term solution for residential wells tainted by GenX.

wild horses along Outer Banks
Thomas Wheeler / AltAdjust.com

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund is urging tourists not to feed the 100 or so horses wandering near the beaches of Currituck County.

red wolf and pup
Brooke Gilley, US Forest Service / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/rT5zJf

The Trump administration announced a proposal Wednesday to shrink the habitat of the only endangered red wolves left in the wild, and to give landowners more leeway to kill any of the animals that stray onto private property.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission staff collect and sort dead fish at White Lake, N.C., in May 2018.
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

“Look at that boat right yonder. They’re going around picking up dead fish,” says a man who identifies himself on YouTube as Kyle McGee.

Gerry Dincher / Flickr Creative Commons

There is plenty of debate over whether an algae bloom, or chemicals, or a combination of the two led to the devastating fish kill on White Lake in Bladen County, NC. What is clear, is more than 100,000 fish of various species, including hearty largemouth bass, floated up to the surface and washed ashore starting in May.

an offshore drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico
Robert Seale, Maersk Drilling / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/mU1Qdz

The mayor of Nags Head says members of Congress should vote down a draft bill on offshore drilling.

File photo of a house on Nags Head. By the year 2045, 2,000 homes in Nags Head and Hatteras can expect flooding every other week, according to the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists.
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

In 30 years, more than 15,000 North Carolina homes will be chronically inundated, meaning they're flooded about every other week, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The nonprofit advocacy group released a report today showing where and when sea-level rise is likely to impact residents' daily lives.

A protest sign brought by Rebekah Cain Saenz sits on a platform in front of Chemours' President of Flouroproducts Paul Kirsch during a community meeting hosted by the chemical company Chemours at Faith Tabernacle Christian Center in St. Pauls, N.C. on Tue
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

A year after news broke that Chemours had been releasing unregulated, industrial compounds into the Cape Fear River for decades, the company ended its silence with a town hall meeting Tuesday night.

Recycling bin.
Town of Chapel Hill

You mean well, and want to help the environment. But have you ever tossed a plastic bag in your blue curbside recycling bin? Or a styrofoam container? You might be part of the reason America has such a lousy reputation for recycling.

A picture of curbside recycling carts in Durham.
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikipedia

Recycling is becoming more popular across North Carolina, and Dare County recycles the most household paper and container materials per-capita in the state.

Heavy rain could be reducing farm yields across the state, like this one in western NC.
mystuart via Flickr, creative commons

 Western North Carolina is expecting more rain and thunderstorms over the next few days. A state of emergency for 33 Western North Carolina counties has been in effect since late May after heavy rains caused several mudslides, flash floods, rising rivers and falling trees. Some areas received 20 inches of rain over a two week period.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

  Last June, The Wilmington Star News broke news that the toxic chemical GenX was found in drinking water from the Cape Fear River.  Long before their investigative series was published, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) knew about the elevated levels of GenX.  Once the news of tainted water spread through the state, so did fears and concerns from residents, government officials and environmental groups.

Flooding along NC 211 near Lumberton make roads impassable on Monday, October 10, 2016.
Jay Price / WUNC

A report on the potential for hurricane damage says more than 250,000 homes in North Carolina face some chance of flooding.  

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