Energy/Environment

Local News
5:30 am
Thu May 29, 2014

NC And Climate Change, Part 2: The Top Threats

A dredging pipe extends down Wrightsville Beach.
Credit Duncan McFadyen / WFAE

The southeast United States faces a host of threats from climate change. Intensifying temperatures and extreme weather could affect anything from dam safety to airport tarmacs to the range of diseases that can thrive. The most recent National Climate Assessment points to three areas most threatened: coastal communities, the agriculture industry, and water availability. In the second of a three part series, WFAE looks at how the state is, or isn’t, preparing to adapt.


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Local News
5:30 am
Wed May 28, 2014

NC And Climate Change, Part 1: Preparation Stops

Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

North Carolina has a complicated relationship with climate change. The state was one of the first to consider its impacts and possible responses, but today—as reports like the National Climate Assessment issue ever more dire warnings—few policies are in place to adapt. In the first of a three part series, WFAE explores the shift.


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Local News
5:30 am
Mon May 26, 2014

NC Legislature Debating Fracking Bill

The North Carolina House this week is expected to take up legislation that would allow the state to issue permits for fracking of oil and gas next year.


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Local News
9:57 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Dan River Update: A Fraction Of Ash Removed

A plume of coal ash flowing into the Dan River, after the failure of a Duke coal ash pond in February.
Credit Appalachian Voices

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it has struck an agreement with Duke Energy to clean up coal ash from the Dan River. The EPA has been overseeing the company’s response, since a storage pond failed at a Duke coal plant in February, spilling at least 30,000 tons of the waste into the river. But the agreement binds Duke to clean up ash as the EPA directs and to reimburse the agency for its costs. EPA officials say that comes to about $800,000 for the past three-plus months of clean-up.


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Local News
4:45 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Airport Or No, Duke Will Remove Riverbend Coal Ash

The primary coal ash pond at Riverbend. The grey bed in the foreground is coal ash.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

Duke Energy officials confirm the company will remove coal ash at the Riverbend power plant above Mountain Island Lake, even though the company’s proposal to send the ash to Charlotte airport is encountering resistance. 

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Charlotte Talks
9:00 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Exploring Local Farms And Local Food

Vegetables
anathea Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

We've all seen the bumper sticker - 'No Farms. No Food.' While agriculture remains North Carolina's largest industry, a new census from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals that farmers in the state are getting older and scarcer. Experts say we need more growers and more attention on building the local and regional food economies. Eating local isn’t just the hip thing to do anymore; many see it as vital for environmental sustainability as well. Farmers markets are growing in popularity, more restaurants are locally-sourcing their ingredients and we're seeing the rise of agritourism that connects the eaters with the growers. Ahead of the 'Know Your Farms' tour this weekend, we meet some of our local farmers and food systems experts to find out about their challenges and discuss the future of food and farming in the Charlotte region.

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Local News
8:50 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Utilities Seek To Address Catawba's Eventual Water Shortages

Credit -ted / Flickr

Almost two million people in the Carolinas rely on the Catawba River, or the Wateree River, which it becomes in South Carolina. This week, the region’s water utilities released what they call the most significant plan for the Catawba’s water supply since reservoirs were built in the early 1900s.


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Local News
10:44 pm
Sat May 10, 2014

Babcock & Wilcox Struggles Prompt Nuclear Reactor Competitor To Open Charlotte Office

A one-third scale test model of the reactor runs on electricity, not nuclear power, at Oregon State University.
Credit NuScale

Charlotte will play host to two companies developing a new type of nuclear reactor. Oregon-based NuScale Power has announced it will open a new office in SouthPark and will hire 100 employees, after seeing an opportunity in the struggles of its Charlotte competitor.


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Local News
10:35 pm
Sat May 10, 2014

Fracking Commission Requests 3-Month Extension To Write Rules

A state commission developing rules for fracking in North Carolina is asking for a three-month extension to finish the job. Mining and Energy Commission Chairman Jim Womack says commissioners do not need more time to write the rules, but he expects as many as 10,000 public comments about the controversial issue. He says an extra three months will help.

“That means we can take more time to sift through the thousands of public comments that we’re going to receive and, so we can have a more conscious and deliberate response,” says Womack.

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Charlotte Observer
5:18 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Charlotte Douglas Doesn't Want Coal Ash Under Runway

A airplane lands at Asheville Regional Airport, to the right is the Duke Energy Asheville Plant, below is the ash fill project under construction at Asheville Regional Airport on March 27, 2014. Airplane hangars and taxi ways will be built at this area of the airport in the future.
Credit Robert Lahser / Charlotte Observer

Charlotte Douglas International Airport doesn’t want coal ash from a Duke Energy power plant buried under a planned new runway or other airport infrastructure, dealing a potential blow to a proposal that would move millions of tons of ash from Mountain Island Lake to the airport.

Interim Aviation Director Brent Cagle said there’s uncertainty about how coal ash would work as a fill material under a runway, where it could be subjected to the pounding of hundreds of jets a day at Charlotte Douglas, the sixth-busiest airport in the world.

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