Archives by: Lisa Sorg

Lisa Sorg

About the author

Lisa Sorg, Environmental Reporter, joined N.C. Policy Watch in July 2016. She covers environmental issues, including social justice, pollution, climate change and energy policy. Before joining the project, Lisa was the editor and an investigative reporter for INDY Week, covering the environment, housing and city government. She has been a journalist for 22 years, working at magazines, daily newspapers, digital media outlets and alternative newsweeklies.
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Lisa Sorg's articles and posts

Environment News Top Story

Sampson County site ranks No. 2 among U.S landfills for methane emissions. Rotting food is part of the problem.

Twenty-five million tons of garbage is rotting in the Sampson County landfill: disposable diapers from Durham, moldy leftovers from refrigerators in Wake, face masks and old toothbrushes from Brunswick.   Over time the detritus of our lives, particularly food waste, breaks down in the landfill and emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that ranks only second to carbon dioxide in driving human-caused climate change.

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Environment News Top Story

Durham City Council rejects huge housing development proposal in Falls Lake watershed

Competing concerns over Triangle's housing shortage and fragile environment fuel 4-2 vote. The contentious Kemp Road project – 655 single-family houses and townhomes on 280 acres in the environmentally fragile Falls Lake watershed – is dead, at least temporarily. But before sticking a fork in the proposal, Durham City Council members dug into several underlying issues vexing residents of one of the fastest-growing areas in the country: housing, gentrification and race.

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Environment Top Story

Utilities Commission approves new plan to reduce carbon emissions, but advocates are underwhelmed

Around 6 o’clock on the evening of Friday, Dec. 30, when anyone who could be was mentally checked out for the holidays, the North Carolina Utilities Commission dropped one of its most important rulings of the last decade: The 137-page Carbon Plan, the commission's directive to Duke Energy to drastically reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and to do its part in thwarting a planetary crisis.

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Environment News Top Story

Several crises, malfunctions at Duke Energy led to rolling blackouts on Christmas Eve, utility officials tell state regulators

Three power plants malfunctioned. Freezing temperatures hampered the output of several nuclear facilities. Energy demand forecasts failed. Nearby utilities in other states, struggling to keep their own customers warm, had no power to sell. On Christmas Eve, a multiverse of mishaps prompted Duke Energy for the first time in state history to inflict rolling blackouts on an estimated 300,000 North Carolinians.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: the environmental impacts of the VinFast electric car factory in Chatham County

With stands of loblolly pine, rivers, creeks and expanses of farm fields, southeastern Chatham County feels like the country. But this neck of the woods is home to many polluting industries: Arauco, a wood products company with a history of air quality violations; the Shearon Harris nuclear plant...

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Environment News Top Story

Frustration, disbelief and a call for resignation: Lawmakers grill hurricane recovery official at oversight hearing

Laura Hogshead did not lose her job as the head of ReBuild NC on Wednesday, as many hurricane survivors had hoped. Instead, several state lawmakers on a government oversight committee used the hearing as another opportunity to publicly berate Hogshead for the many deficiencies of the hurricane recovery program.  An abysmal number of home completions and a lack of accountability. A pattern of deception and a culture of secrecy.

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Environment Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Leaks, mold, electrical problems, tilting floors: Some hurricane survivors discover their new homes are falling apart

Ms. Johnson’s toilet has sat, unconnected to any plumbing, in the middle of her master bathroom for more than a year. Mold is blooming in her master bedroom closet, caused by a leaking shower. The water pressure is low, and her floors are uneven. Her contractor, Persons Services has not fixed the issues since 2021, Johnson said. And the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, also known as ReBuild NC,  has failed to hold Persons accountable.

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Environment News Top Story

Dishonorable discharge: Runoff from a former industrial site is contaminating an important NC lake

Alcoa's continued discharge of toxics into Badin Lake, a popular fishing and swimming destination, linked to paltry fines, lax state oversight  Alcoa, the eighth-largest aluminum company in the world, whose global reach spans 11 countries, claims on its website that it "operates with excellence" and "cares about people around the globe." The residents of West Badin, in Stanly County, and many of their neighbors across Badin Lake disagree.

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Environment News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the problem of contaminated drinking water wells in NC

Under a special state fund 658 drinking water wells were sampled for contamination, many of them in Wake County Since 2007 state regulators have sampled more than 5,500 private wells for potential contamination under the Bernard Allen Memorial Emergency Drinking Water Fund, according to an annual report filed by the Department of Environmental Quality. The state legislature created the fund -- named after a former Wake County state legislator -- in 2006.

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Environment Top Story

After intense public scrutiny about hurricane disaster response, Ivan Duncan, a top official at ReBuild NC, is resigning

Ivan Duncan, whose tenure as chief program delivery officer with ReBuild NC has come under increased scrutiny, is resigning, sources told Policy Watch. ...
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