Environment

Travel trailers are staged in Kinston, NC prior to delivery and installation.  These trailers are one solution in North Carolina's multi-pronged approach to temporarily house displaced survivors of Hurricane Florence.
Liz Roll / FEMA

The first families to get temporary housing after Hurricane Florence are now in RVs or mobile homes, but FEMA says as many as 600 families are still waiting for housing assistance from the federal government.

Trucking contractors haul Temporary Housing Units in Cobleskill, New York that are being shipped from a federal staging area to private home sites or commercial sites for flooding survivors of hurricanes.
Hans Pennicnk / FEMA

Thousands of Hurricane Florence victims are still displaced from their homes, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is in North Carolina working to help.

That now includes providing temporary housing in so-called FEMA trailers and manufactured homes.

Suffering For Science With The ‘King Of Sting’

Oct 18, 2018
Courtesy of Justin Schmidt

As a boy in a boring Pennsylvania town, Justin Schmidt could not help but investigate how biting ants, stinging wasps and other insects would react when he sat on their mounds or knocked down their nests. These escapades won him no love from the bugs he bothered, but Schmidt did develop an enduring adoration for them. 

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

Conservationists told a federal judge Wednesday that an imminent government plan to shrink the territory of the only red wolves living in the wild would hasten the animal's extinction in violation of federal law.

The Eastern Spadefoot toad
Jeff Hall / North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Coastal and Sandhill residents say they've seen a jump in the frog and toad population since Hurricane Florence.

A thin film of coal ash coats trees and vegetation in an inactive ash basin at the HF Lee plant. As expected, the area was flooded by Hurricane Florence.
c/o Duke Energy

Regulators with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality say their tests on the Neuse River show no elevated levels of dangerous metals in the water.

The results came as a relief to Duke Energy, but were in direct conflict with tests taken by the Waterkeeper Alliance, an environmental advocacy group.

Jason DeBruyn / WUNC

 The historic flooding from Florence has eased, but communities and environmentalists are just beginning to take stock of the damage it caused.

HSUS
HSUS

Do large-scale hog farms make their neighbors sick? A new study from Duke University researchers show residents who live close to industrial hog farms have a higher risk of potentially deadly diseases. 

Courtesy of Georgann Eubanks

Being able to walk into a supermarket and pick up a carton of strawberries in January makes it easy to believe that all food should be available at all times. 

The banks of the Cape Fear River on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.
Courtesy of Waterkeepers Alliance

There's ongoing disagreement about the levels of coal ash in the Cape Fear River near Wilmington. Environmental advocates say they have visibly seen ash, but Duke Energy says its water tests show otherwise.

Ramon Espinosa / AP Photo

One year ago, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. The Category 4 storm had winds up to 150 mph and decimated the unincorporated territory. Millions of Americans were left without power and water in Puerto Rico in the wake of the storm. A report from George Washington University estimated the death toll of the hurricane to be 2,975. 

Lisa Philip / WUNC

Though Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, its floodwaters continue to wreak havoc on North Carolina communities. 

Vehicles drive through water from the White Oak River flooding Highway 24 as Hurricane Florence hit Swansboro N.C., Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.
Tom Copeland / AP Photo

North Carolina is feeling the effects of Hurricane Florence. The major storm is expected to cause catastrophic flooding and long power outages. Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii and WUNC politics reporter Rusty Jacobs for the latest from the governor and on state response.

AP Photo/Chuck Burton

Hurricane Florence, which is now a Category 2 storm, continues to bear down on the Carolina coast. The National Weather Service says it is likely to be “the storm of a lifetime” for certain portions of that coastline. Officials have ordered the evacuation of over 1 million people from the coasts of North and South Carolina. Scott Sharp, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Raleigh speaks with host Frank Stasio with the latest report.

A hog waste lagoon in Beaufort County, NC.
DefMo / Flickr Creative Commons

The heavy rain expected from Hurricane Florence could flood hog manure pits, coal ash dumps and other industrial sites in North Carolina, creating a noxious witches' brew of waste that might wash into homes and threaten drinking water supplies.

Tom Copeland / AP Photo

Many North Carolina residents are evacuating coastal areas while others are preparing emergency stores to get them through what the Federal Emergency Management Agency is predicting will be the strongest storm to hit the state in decades. 

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. 

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