Environment

Lyndsey Gilpin

Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced the cancellation of the controversial 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline Sunday. 

A handful of states are preparing to spend millions of dollars to address flooding, as extreme rain and sea level rise threaten communities along rivers and coastlines.

On July 1, Virginia's new Community Flood Preparedness Fund went into effect. It will set aside an estimated $45 million a year for flood mitigation projects. To fund the program, Virginia joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which regulates emissions in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic by auctioning off emissions allowances.

County of Dare/Flickr / https://bit.ly/2O0i6Bn

New federal flood maps have reclassified thousands of properties in Dare County from high-flood risk areas to lower risk ones called "shaded X zones."

Dolphins learn special foraging techniques from their mothers—and it's now clear that they can learn from their buddies as well. Take the clever trick that some dolphins use to catch fish by trapping them in seashells. It turns out that they learn this skill by watching their pals do the job.

The discovery, reported in the journal Current Biology, helps reveal how groups of wild animals can transmit learned behaviors and develop their own distinct cultures.

A massive cloud of dust from the Sahara Desert is arriving along the U.S. Gulf Coast this week after traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. The phenomenon happens every year – but the 2020 version is especially large and imposing, experts said.

The dust cloud is "quite large" this year, said Marshall Shepherd, director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the University of Georgia, in an interview on NPR's All Things Considered. "I think that's why it's garnering so much attention."

Sign reads: "Atlantic Coast Pipeline No Trespassing"
Lyndsey Gilpin

A U.S. Supreme Court decision last week allows the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to travel under a section of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. 

Rattan Lal just won a quarter of a million dollars for his scientific research on dirt. Or as he prefers to call it, "soil."

And in fact, soil and money have something in common, says Lal, the newly named 2020 World Food Prize Laureate. Think of the ground as similar a bank account. If you want to improve your bank account balance, you have to deposit more money than you withdraw. The same goes for soil. You have to make deposits to keep it healthy.

As North Carolina Parks Reopen, Officials Tackle New Challenges And Precautions

Jun 22, 2020

When COVID-19 shut down the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Kristine Johnson had two particular worries in mind: garlic mustard and coltsfoot.

Gragg stands in front of a pink quilt top with yellow and blue squares. She is wearing a large necklace, drop earrings and a blue shirt. Her coily hair has streaks of blue.
Dare Kumolo-Johnson

Mavis Gragg never thought her work would “take her to the trees,” but that is where she has found herself. 

Sign outside Chemours' Fayetteville Works site
Vince Winkel

Three years ago this weekend, the public learned about the presence of a toxic chemical compound known as GenX in the Wilmington-area drinking water. 

Will Stuart

Long-distance travellers are stopping through North Carolina this week. Despite weighing as much as a triple-A battery, the Blackpoll Warbler annually migrates from the Carribean and South America to breeding grounds in Canada.
 

Flooding in a small town street
North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency

The Atlantic hurricane season begins in less than a month. Researchers predict an active season with as many as 22 named storms, a small portion of which may become major hurricanes. But it takes only one storm to cause major damage, and emergency managers are preparing for the worst.

a colorful artists' rendering of the greenhouse effect
Jaime Van Wart

Eleanor Spicer Rice spent her childhood fascinated by ants, flies, maggots, bones and other natural curiosities. Her family encouraged that inquisitiveness — her father would take her on walks in the swamps near their Goldsboro home, and her parents never told her the bugs that enchanted her were gross.

Cape Hatteras
scott1346 / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/22gXbzu

Two years after a newly formed North Carolina island was lost to storm surge, a new one appears to be rising in its place on the Outer Banks, park officials said.

Cape Hatteras
scott1346 / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/22gXbzu

Visitors aren’t allowed on the Outer Banks right now because of COVID-19. But there’s a new way to absorb the tranquility of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Clouds sit low on North Carolina mountains.
Flickr, Peter Miller

The Environmental Protection Agency relaxed environmental standards during the coronavirus pandemic. The agency says it is suspending civil penalties temporarily because of potential worker shortages, social distancing mandates and travel restrictions. But the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says state rules still apply. 

Ways & Means Presents: Green Ideas

Mar 16, 2020
Graphic showing a car, bus, bike and footprints on a backdrop of a city skyline.
Courtesy of Ways & Means

North Carolina is home to some of the best public policy minds in the nation. The Ways & Means podcast highlights faculty research at one of the state’s top programs: Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

GRANDY, N.C. — A blind wild horse that had roamed North Carolina's Outer Banks has died.

Mguu (right) is the newest member of the southern white rhino family at the North Carolina Zoo.
Moriah Angott / North Carolina Zoo

A southern white rhino calf born at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro earlier this winter has expressive fluttering ears and, according to zookeepers, particularly big feet. Now she has the name to go with that solid footing. 

The newest draft of the Nantahala Pisgah Forest plan

The town of Beaufort is the first community in the state to endorse the N.C. Marine Debris Action Plan.  

Steve Helber / AP

The Supreme Court on Monday appeared ready to remove an obstacle to construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, with a majority of justices expressing skepticism about a lower court ruling that tossed out a key permit needed for the natural gas pipeline to cross under the Appalachian Trail.

Steve Warren, Creative Commons License

A new study from North Carolina State University suggests that aging levees across the country might be in worse shape than inspectors realize.

Sign that reads: Water Filtration Facility, 7441 Poplar Springs Church Road Sanford, NC 27330
Greg Barnes

Research on chemical pollutants in North Carolina’s rivers and streams is stacking up, and the results are unnerving.

North Carolina Climate Office

Many people could have worn flip-flops in the last days of 2019. The week before New Year’s Eve featured 70 degree days — but it was not a fluke. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information, 2019 was the warmest year on record in North Carolina so far. 

With the federal government's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, state and local governments in North Carolina have set their own ambitious goals for addressing climate change. Now, they're puzzling over how to carry out the big changes needed to reach those goals - such as switching to electric vehicles and shifting to more renewable energy. At least for now, it's still mostly data-gathering and discussion. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Are wood pellets a renewable energy? In 2009, the European Union declared wood pellets a “carbon-neutral choice,” and in 2018 the EPA followed suit. Yet pellets are less efficient than fossil fuels. To make the same amount of energy, wood pellets release more carbon than both coal and natural gas.

wild horses along Outer Banks
Thomas Wheeler / AltAdjust.com

  A group that manages herds of wild horses in coastal North Carolina is warning drivers to watch out for the animals taking advantage of unseasonably warm weather by sleeping on the sand at night.

A 2019 Department of Defense report concluded that the effects of a changing climate, including wildfires, threaten dozens of military bases.

Workers with a large tractor dig coal ash out from pit.
NC DEQ / Flickr

Duke Energy is expected to execute the country’s largest coal ash cleanup in the next couple decades. A settlement signed Dec. 31, 2019 between Duke Energy and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality decided the utility will excavate nearly 80 million tons of coal ash from unlined ponds and move it to lined landfills.

Pages