Michael Falero

Energy & Environment Reporter

Michael Falero is a radio reporter, focusing on energy and the environment. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he worked as a producer for a number of local news podcasts based in Charlotte and Boston. He's a graduate of the Transom Story Workshop intensive on Cape Cod and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His work has also aired on WCAI, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and PRX Remix.

An image shown at an Aug. 21 meeting with Huntersville officials shows Colonial Pipeline's radius for testing wells, with DEQ's required distances inside
Colonial Pipeline Company

Colonial Pipeline says an August gasoline pipeline leak in Huntersville happened at a previous repair site, according to the first report the company released detailing the circumstances of the leak.

Absentee Voting Bill Headed To SC Gov. McMaster's Desk

Sep 15, 2020


COLUMBIA, S.C. — The first day of the South Carolina legislature's two-week special session to wrap up ends left loose by the COVID-19 pandemic was marked by two groups advocating for constitutional rights at the capitol building: One urging legislators to expand protections for voters this fall, and one demanding state leaders take the pandemic less seriously.

Courtesy Mike Harvey

The company behind a gasoline pipeline leak in Huntersville last month says it now believes the leak is much bigger than first thought. Colonial Pipeline says at least 272,580 gallons of gasoline leaked, and gasoline is still being cleaned up.

Courtesy Mike Harvey

Last month, about 63,000 gallons of gasoline leaked out of the Colonial Pipeline in Huntersville. It was the pipeline’s largest leak in the state. But it wasn’t the company's first leak.

Dozens of heavy duty and pickup trucks line the sides of an off-road near Huntersville-Concord Road on Thursday August 20th. Colonial Pipeline said it had completed a repair of the leak by that evening.
Michael Falero / WFAE

A leak in a gasoline pipeline in Huntersville last month may have been larger than the pipeline company originally thought.

Coal ash belmont
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a new rule for how coal-fired power plants can dispose of wastewater contaminated with coal ash, which could change how a number of Duke Energy’s North Carolina plants handle the substance.

Alexus Johnson looks at the backyard of her great-grandmother's home in Washinton Heights, where many of the trees are 80 years old.
Michael Falero / WFAE

Charlotte has been losing trees for years, leaving some neighborhoods with less shade than others. New data shows a different way of looking at which neighborhoods lack trees.

Right of way for the Colonial pipeline, near the Pavilion Estates Neighborhood. The leak occured approximately 5,000 feet in this direction from the neighborhood.
Michael Falero / WFAE

More than 60,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from a pipeline in Huntersville a few weeks ago. Town officials there are holding a public meeting Thursday to answer questions about the leak. The incident has left residents frustrated with the pipeline company and the town.

APWU President Tony Wilson speaks outside the USPS Facility on Scott Futrell Drive
Michael Falero / WFAE

Postal workers in Charlotte are calling on Congress to pass emergency funding for the U.S. Postal Service. They also want the reversal of changes made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

American Airlines Will Drop Flights To 15 Cities In October

Aug 20, 2020
Steve Harrison/WFAE

American Airlines will drop flights to 15 smaller U.S. cities in October when a federal requirement to serve those communities ends.

North Carolina is investing $12 million in high-speed internet for a number of rural counties around the state to help with unreliable internet that has proven necessary during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday. 

EraserGirl/Wikimedia Commons

At least seven mail sorting machines have been removed or are in the process of being removed from a post office facility near the Charlotte Airport. The Postal Service announced Tuesday it would stop removing mail-sorting machines and other changes made to service.

NC Gov. Cooper Says He'll Seek Jobless Aid That Trump Offered

Aug 12, 2020
NC Department of Public Safety


RALEIGH — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said on Wednesday that he's preparing to accept for the state extended unemployment benefits that President Donald Trump directed in an executive order, part of the continuing response to the COVID-19 economic downturn.

Alexander Shimmeck / Unsplash

Many high school fall sports in North Carolina will not start until early 2021. 

N.C. Department of Public Safety / FLICKR

North Carolina will remain in Phase 2 of its coronavirus restrictions for at least five more weeks, Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday, as numbers related to the spread of the virus have shown signs of stabilization but not significant improvement.


July 24 is the day Americans will see an end to the federal government’s $600 in additional unemployment benefits. Next week, North Carolina’s moratorium on utility shutoffs ends. Congress is currently negotiating an extension of the payments, but many Charlotte-area nonprofits are preparing for a greater demand for help from residents facing unemployment and mounting bills. 

Workers are grading the median on the Monroe Expressway north of Monroe.
David Boraks / WFAE

North Carolina environmental groups say they’re concerned by changes the Trump administration is making to one of the country’s cornerstone environmental laws. 

Flickr/Erik Cleves Kristensen

A new study says Charlotte’s tree canopy declined significantly between 2012 and 2018, with residential development the biggest cause of widespread tree loss in the city.

Wearing Civil War costumes, a group stands guard and places a wreath at a Civil War monument on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds. 7/10/20
Michael Falero / WFAE

About 50 people from opposing groups gathered Friday morning outside the South Carolina State House, where a Confederate flag was removed from the grounds five years ago.

Coach Tim Wall conducts temperature scans of each player before practice begins at Lake Norman High School
Michael Falero / WFAE

Most high schools in the region have delayed football practice because of the coronavirus pandemic. One exception is Lake Norman High School in Iredell County, where coaches and players are practicing football differently this year.

Patrons on the patio of Common Market in Charlotte's Plaza Midwood neighborhood
Michael Falero / WFAE

Across the country and North Carolina young people are testing positive for the coronavirus at a startling rate. The challenge for health officials is convincing young people that there’s a way to follow social distancing guidelines while still being social. But some young people are finding that balance is not as easy as it sounds.

N.C. Department of Public Safety

Gov. Roy Cooper says North Carolina will stay in its current phase of COVID-19 restrictions for three more weeks and that most residents will be required to wear face masks in public when social distancing isn't possible. 

Erik (HASH) Hersman / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Tuesday’s Republican primary in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District is taking place with fewer poll workers due to the coronavirus pandemic. The district covers 17 of North Carolina’s western counties. 

Beatties Ford Road shooting aftermath. 06/22/20
Michael Falero / WFAE

There are still many unknowns around the mass shooting on Beatties Ford Road that occurred early Monday morning. What we do know is that two Juneteenth celebrations occurred on Friday and Saturday on Beatties Ford Road. Both were peaceful. A third started off peaceful Sunday, but turned violent as gunshots were fired at roughly 12:30 a.m. People were hit by cars as they tried to flee the scene. Three people have died. Police are still searching for a motive and suspects.

Marchers Wednesday night remembered the people murdered five years ago at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
Michael Falero / WFAE

Hundreds of people gathered in Charlotte Wednesday evening during the third week of protests in the city.


An event called the Black Men United March and Rally was organized by local leaders including Charlotte city council member Malcolm Graham, whose sister, Cynthia Graham Hurd, was one of nine black people killed by a white supremacist five years ago during a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

A breakdown of Mecklenburg County's COVID-19 cases by ethnicity and age, as of June 14, 2020.
Mecklenburg County Public Health Department

Mecklenburg County’s public health department reports Latinos make up more than a third of the county’s coronavirus cases. And the majority of those cases are among people under 40. The county is concerned about the trend and is increasing its outreach to Charlotte’s Latino community.

Demonstrators pass out bags of food to homeless residents. 6/10/20
Michael Falero / WFAE

UPDATED 9:10 p.m.

On the 13th day of demonstrations in Charlotte against police violence and systemic racism, a "March and Feed" led by the Million Youth March of Charlotte and Salisbury began Wednesday night at Charlotte's Marshall Park. Later, the group joined others at the "Silence for the Silenced" vigil in Romare Bearden Park.

Sarah Delia / WFAE

Demonstrators gathered in Charlotte for the 12th night in a row Tuesday to demand an end to systemic racism and police brutality. But it was a different type of demonstration than in nights past. There was a sense of peace and reverence in the air and activism and voice through new artwork adorning a major uptown street.

Artists complete the base paint layers for the "Black Lives Matter" mural on Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte.
Michael Falero / WFAE

More than a dozen artists began painting a large mural that says “Black Lives Matter” on a block of Tryon Street between Third and Fourth streets in uptown Charlotte on Tuesday morning. The mural should be done by evening.


Gaston County’s 16-year-veteran Health and Human Services Director Chris Dobbins resigned abruptly Monday. Gaston County's government says it won’t comment because it’s a personnel issue.