Energy & Environment

News and information about energy, environment or both from Charlotte and the Carolinas. 



State officials worry offshore drilling could threaten tourism, fishing and the environment.

Gov. Roy Cooper is making another plea to President Donald Trump to include North Carolina in a ban on offshore drilling. 

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.

Duke Energy finished this natural gas-fired power plant in Asheville in April 2020, replacing an old coal-fired plant.
Duke Energy

Environmental and social justice groups say a new 15-year energy plan filed this month by Duke Energy would bring higher rates and still fall short of addressing climate change.  

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.

How seismic airgun testing works.

An oil and gas exploration company has withdrawn its application for a permit to conduct seismic testing off the North Carolina coast.  


North Carolina's large solar developers and Duke Energy have reached agreements on key issues that have delayed many projects. Duke says that could get more solar farms online faster. 

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.

Map shows where WesternGeco plans seismic testing off the North Carolina coast.

President Donald Trump signed a memorandum to his interior secretary Tuesday that exempts the Atlantic coasts of Florida, South Carolina and Georgia - but not North Carolina - from his push to expand offshore oil and gas drilling. 

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.

Contractors for the EPA take soil samples at a house on the West Side of Davidson Tuesday.
David Boraks / WFAE

Federal environmental officials say they've finished testing more than 100 additional properties around an old asbestos mill in Davidson. Only six -- including a town-owned park -- need cleanups. That's fewer sites than after previous testing three years ago.   

Sheep from a local farm are grazing to keep grass down beneath the panels at Duke Energy's Monroe solar farm.
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy has sent North Carolina regulators a new long-range energy plan. This year's plan has something new: scenarios for faster adoption of renewable energy. But they come at a price. 

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.

Map shows where WesternGeco plans seismic testing off the North Carolina coast.

North Carolina is appealing a federal decision to allow offshore seismic testing in advance of potential drilling for oil and gas. 

A mountain of coal ash has been reduced to the original ground level near Riverbend.
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy is urging state regulators to approve rate increases at its two North Carolina electric utilities, including money to pay for cleanups of toxic coal ash.   

Rusty Jacobs/ WUNC

State regulators and environmentalists have reached an agreement with chemical maker Chemours that adds new requirements for preventing contamination of the Cape Fear River.

Duke Energy building
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy lost $817 million in the second quarter as it wrote off $2 billion in costs related to the shutdown of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.  

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.

Gov. Roy Cooper
NC Department of Public Safety

Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday resisted calls to rescind an executive order that bans utility shutoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic. State Treasurer Dale Folwell says it's hurting small co-ops and municipally owned utilities. 

Duke, Dominion Cancel Contested Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Jul 5, 2020
Atlantic Coast Pipeline

RICHMOND, Va. — The developers of the long-delayed, $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline announced the cancellation of the multi-state natural gas project Sunday, citing uncertainties about costs, permitting and litigation.

Supreme Court Clears Way For Atlantic Coast Pipeline Permit

Jun 15, 2020
Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a critical permit for a proposed natural gas pipeline that would cross under the Appalachian Trail, siding with the Trump administration and the pipeline's builders, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy.

Flickr/cheriejoyful / Flickr

An annual ranking of 100 city park systems around the country has again placed Charlotte near the bottom, though the Queen City saw some small improvements.

Brett Dupree searches for the overcup oak near McDowell Nature Preserve
Michael Falero / WFAE

Charlotte's rapid development in the past 20 years has threatened the city’s tree canopy, with at least 400 total acres lost since 2012. Among those lost are some of Charlotte’s biggest trees, and now there's an effort to track down a number of the city’s historic "treasure trees."

Duke Energy has given utility workers masks and other protective measures as they respond to calls during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy plans to slash up to $450 million in expenses this year as it responds to a drop in electricity use because of the coronavirus outbreak. That includes a hiring freeze, cuts in outside contractors and overtime, and plant outages. 

Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good faced questions at the Charlotte-based company's annual meeting Thursday from shareholders concerned that the company isn't reducing the use of fossil fuels fast enough. 

Drinking water in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County got good grades again in 2019.
David Boraks / WFAE

Drinking water in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County met federal standards again in 2019, and regular testing also found no problems with unregulated chemicals. 

The Monroe solar farm, on about 400 acres off South Rocky River Road, has about 684,000 solar panels.
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy has set a goal of doubling the renewable energy it produces or buys by 2025. The new target is in the company's annual sustainability report out Tuesday.

We're Driving Less. So How's The Air?

Apr 25, 2020
The Charlotte Ledger

Several weeks into the nearly worldwide stay-at-home orders, we’re living a real-life experiment about economics and our planet. New data and images show a dramatic improvement in the air quality in several parts of the world.

The Metrolina Warehouse in Davidson was an asbestos factory from 1930 to 1960.
David Boraks / WFAE

State and federal environmental officials say they will test more properties in Davidson for asbestos in the coming months. That's after residents in the historically African American West Side neighborhood raised concerns at a community meeting back in January.