Environment

City of Greensboro

  A team of researchers from universities across the state will begin testing air and municipal water samples throughout North Carolina this month in search of potentially-toxic compounds.

Matt Bush / BPR

The number of visitors at Dupont State Forest more than doubled this decade.  It’s just one of the many outdoor destinations that has helped form Asheville and Western North Carolina’s national profile.  Something else is now getting national attention – the region’s industry that builds the products those outdoor visitors use.

A picture of a plastic bag floating underwater.
polandeze / flickr.com/photos/polandeze/378698004

A massive amount of plastic is ending up in our oceans. It’s a global challenge that could be solved only with a huge, coordinated effort. North Carolinians are doing their part both by adding to, and lightening the load.

North Carolina, like the rest of the world, has a plastic problem. And with more than 3,000 miles of ocean and sound coastline, the plastic that is dropped along a roadside or blown into in a ditch has a direct route to the sea.

A picture of a bull elk.
Mark Williams / NC Wildlife Resources Commission

North Carolina's recovering elk population has about 2,030 more acres to spread out into. The Conservation fund and the state Wildlife Resources Commission helped acquire nine properties outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to create the William H. Silver Game Land.

File photo of a protest sign in front of Chemours' President of Fluoroproducts Paul Kirsch during a community meeting hosted by the chemical company Chemours at Faith Tabernacle Christian Center in St. Pauls, N.C. on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
Ben McKeown / WUNC

Earlier this week the state turned down Chemours’ suggestion to raise the acceptable amount of GenX, a chemical found in the water, soil and air around its North Carolina plant. The Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board instead affirmed the state’s conservative threshold of the chemical for drinking water. 

A North Carolina State University researcher is using underwater microphones to help better understand the extensive array of animals living in the state’s oyster reefs.
James Morrison / WUNC

A North Carolina State University researcher is using underwater microphones to help better understand the extensive array of animals living in the state’s oyster reefs.    

Creative Commons

The state Department of Environmental Quality is monitoring a handful of excessive algae blooms at lakes across the state this summer.

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.

File photo of a protest sign in front of Chemours' President of Fluoroproducts Paul Kirsch during a community meeting hosted by the chemical company Chemours at Faith Tabernacle Christian Center in St. Pauls, N.C. on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
Ben McKeown / 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.

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