North Carolina officials are preparing to open the state up to fracking, a process for drilling for natural gas. The state is expected to vote on rules to govern companies who want to drill later this year—rules to protect the environment, but also for landowners. The latter will be especially important, after a recent investigative report shows companies in other states have bilked landowners for the gas under their land.


Duke Energy says it will remove the coal ash controversially stored on the banks of Mountain Island Lake. That has long been a goal of environmental groups. After that announcement, Duke quickly offered a proposal to the City of Charlotte: use the ash at Charlotte-Douglas airport, as fill for land, for new runways, taxiways, and other projects. That proposal from Duke could be a cheap option for an airport whose calling card is its low cost.

Duke Energy

Duke Energy has announced plans to close many coal ash ponds across the state, including at the Riverbend Steam Station on Mountain Island Lake, after at least 30,000 tons of the toxic byproduct from burning coal spilled into the Dan River last month. City officials say Duke and another company have proposed that the airport use the ash.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr

The City of Charlotte has canceled its plan for an ambitious solar power project at Charlotte-Douglas airport, at least for now. Airport officials say new construction and old bonds make the project unfeasible.

Duke Energy

A North Carolina judge has ruled that state environmental regulators must immediately stop groundwater contamination from coal ash ponds at all 14 of Duke Energy’s coal-fired power plants. The decision is a victory for environmental groups opposed to how Duke Energy stores the leftover byproduct from burnt coal at its power plants, but it does not resolve what will happen to the ash.

Department of Energy

An agreement between the United States and Russia calls for disposal of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium from each country, enough to produce 17,000 nuclear weapons, according to the Department of Defense. But multi-billion dollar cost overruns at the South Carolina facility built for the disposal has the Obama administration seeking to put the project on hold.

Duke Energy

North Carolina regulators are cracking down on Duke Energy for allowing storm water to flow unauthorized from its coal plants into state rivers and lakes. Regulators have known about the runoff for years, but are taking action amidst allegations they have been too soft on Duke.


State regulators announced today that they will not allow a coal ash pond on the bank of the Dan River to resume its normal operation, after at least 30,000 tons of the toxic leftovers from burning coal spilled into the river. 

Appalachian Voices

Two weeks since Duke Energy crews plugged a broken stormwater pipe, stopping a leak of coal ash into the Dan River, little progress has been made on removing that ash from the river.

A broken pipe funneled 30,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River in North Carolina earlier this month, turning it gray. The pipe has been plugged, but the spill has reignited a fight over storage of coal ash, and scrutiny of the state regulators responsible for monitoring it.