Jeff Willhelm / 2008 Observer File Photo

As part of a flurry of late night activity, the North Carolina Senate planned a vote on one of its top priorities, coal ash, and what to do about one hundred million tons of the waste, which is currently stored in ponds next to waterways around the state. But, the measure never made it to a vote.

The oil and gas extraction technique known as fracking is not yet legal in North Carolina, but a Pennsylvania company is seeking to buy the rights to oil and gas from landowners in Durham County. The state Department of Justice has told it to stop.

Catawba Riverkeeper

North Carolina’s annual farm bill addresses fertilizer regulations, landscapers , and even the legal definition of “planting and harvesting season.” But environmental groups say one provision unfairly shields the industry from public scrutiny, while the industry argues it protects from overzealous watchdogs.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

In the span of five years, the solar industry in North Carolina has grown from nearly non-existent to fourth-largest in the nation, behind California, Arizona, and New Jersey. The pace is accelerating, with solar capacity set to more than double in the state, at least this year. The state’s powerful electric utilities are pushing changes that could blot out the industry in North Carolina.

Appalachian Voices

Duke Energy announced it has finished actively cleaning coal ash from the Dan River, a little less than six months after a massive spill turned the water gray. The bulk of the ash will remain in the river.

Between 30,000 and 40,000 tons of ash, containing heavy metals including arsenic and lead, spilled into the river in February. It flowed down the Dan River, collecting in pockets on its banks and bottom.

Duke has dredged three main areas—next to the spill site, from the water treatment plants of cities downriver, and, the largest, near a dam outside the city of Danville.

The controversial oil and gas extraction process known as fracking took another step toward legalization in North Carolina Tuesday.

The state formally opened a public comment period, a time when anyone can officially weigh in on the rules that will ultimately govern fracking.

The North Carolina House and Senate have found another area of disagreement to go along with the budget. One of the legislature’s top priorities—a bill to address coal ash—failed to advance to the governor’s desk Monday night.

Electric utilities and renewable energy developers are facing off this week in front of the North Carolina utilities commission over the price of renewable energy, and how much companies like Duke Energy should have to pay for it. The dispute has drawn in both national environmental organizations and Google.

Julie Rose / WFAE File Photo

The worms at Charlotte Douglas International Airport could soon be under new management, as the airport seeks a new contractor to run its recycling program.

Duke Energy

The question about what to do with coal ash around the state came to the North Carolina House floor last night. In a contentious three hour debate, Republican lawmakers defended controversial changes to the bill they received from the Senate and defeated more than a dozen amendments. As the bill nears becoming law, here are four things to know about the latest version.