Energy/Environment

Politics
10:14 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Senate Passes Rule On Fracking Fluid

The Senate has passed requirements for what gas companies must reveal about the chemical mix they pump into ground during hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The Senate overrode another state government group’s more stringent rule.


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Local News
10:08 am
Wed June 26, 2013

How A New Limit On Carbon Emissions Could Impact NC

Duke has opened two new coal plants this year, including the Cliffside Steam Station on the Rutherford/Cleveland County line two weeks ago.
Credit Duke Energy

President Obama plans to issue an executive order to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Right now, there is no limit. It could change the mix of energy sources on which North Carolina relies. Coal provides the largest source of the state’s power, including 51 percent in 2011. But, burning coal emits the most carbon-dioxide of the major power sources, so it is most likely to be affected by the order. Other North Carolina businesses could stand to benefit by the scaling back of coal plants.


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Local News
9:06 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Lawsuit Against Duke Ash Ponds Is A Reversal For State

Riverbend Steam Station
Credit Duke Energy

A recently shuttered coal plant sits on the Catawba River in Gaston County, and state environmental officials say it’s seeping heavy metals precariously close to Charlotte’s water supply. This week, the N.C. Division of Water Quality added that coal plant to a lawsuit against Duke Energy—the plant’s owner. The state has had evidence of violations for two years, but declined to act until recently.


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Local News
9:59 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Hopes High But Progress Slow At Kannapolis Biotech Campus

A view of the North Carolina Research Campus from a window in the Core Laboratory building. After five years, the campus remains mostly unbuilt.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

When billionaire David Murdock opened the North Carolina Research Campus five years ago, his goal was to create a global biotechnology center in Kannapolis and to replace the thousands of jobs lost when Cannon Mills—formerly the city’s largest employer—closed. Murdock has poured upwards of $600 million into development of the NCRC, but today, there are only a handful of companies and few jobs compared to his sweeping vision. This week, Murdock donated another $50 million to the endeavor. Outside of Murdock’s millions, there are few signs of growth, but many are still betting on it.


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Politics
8:30 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Fracking Commission Delays Chemical Disclosure Rules

One of the most contentious questions about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is what companies should be required to disclose about the mix of water and chemicals pumped into the ground during the process. 


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Local News
7:24 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Clean Energy Advocates Inundate Duke Energy Annual Meeting

Protesters begin to set up outside Duke Energy headquarters before the annual shareholder meeting.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

Duke Energy hosted its annual shareholder meeting in Uptown Thursday, one day before the company releases its first quarter earnings report. CEO Jim Rogers pronounced the company healthy and profitable, but the meeting was also a rare opportunity to berate the CEO.


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Local News
8:30 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Speeding Around On Vegetable Oil

Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

High gas prices, the threat of climate change, and new technology have spurred increased  looks at alternative fuels, especially hybrids, electric cars and biodiesels. But a community in Charlotte has opted for a less conventional, do-it-yourself solution—they run their fleet on used vegetable oil from area restaurants.


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Local News
1:01 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

The Cicadas Are Back...Two Years Later?

17-year periodic cicada M. septendecim
Credit University of Michigan

It's only been two years since we last heard that a large number of periodic cicadas would be emerging from the ground, congregating on tree branches and singing their distinctive mating calls. This year, there's news that more will be coming out again. But every time the story is in the news, it's reported that these insects stay underground for 13 or 17 years. So why do we hear about periodic cicadas so often? Duncan McFadyen asks N.C. State University entomologist Clyde Sorenson.


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Local News
12:43 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Is Battery Program Environmentalism Or Profit For AAA Carolinas?

The heavy metals and acids in car batteries are extremely toxic to the environment, but those materials are also highly sought by scrap yards, recycling centers, and battery resellers.
Credit Derek Rankine / Flickr

Saturday is Earth Day, so it's the time of year when companies, non-profits, and advocacy groups urge you to do your part to save the environment. One example: AAA Carolinas has an annual promotion called the Great Battery Roundup, where the organization offers $5 for drivers to turn in used or junk car batteries. The program may have environmental benefits, although the going rate for used batteries is often more than double on the open market.


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Local News
12:21 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Lake Norman Fishing Guide Weighs In On PCB Advisory

A striped bass.
Credit nilsrinaldi, Flickr

If you fish on Lake Norman, you may have heard about a new warning this week from state and county health officials. They advise most people not to eat striped bass from the lake more than once a week, and for pregnant women and children to avoid the fish altogether. It’s because they’ve detected PCB’s in the fish. These chemicals, once common industrial lubricants, were banned in 1979 because they were found to cause birth defects and to be a likely cause of cancer. PCB’s have been a problem in other bodies of water for years, but this is the first warning about them in Lake Norman. So we called Captain Gus Gustafson. He’s been taking people fishing on Lake Norman for more than 20 years.


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