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 Top Story

Trump’s EPA chief headlines GenX discussion in Fayetteville with distinctly partisan overtones

Mostly Republican pols invited to hear Andrew Wheeler issue an Apprentice-stye challenge for new chemical clean-up solutions North Carolina is now into Year 4 of its GenX crisis — nearing the equivalent of a presidential term — since the residents of Cumberland, Bladen, Brunswick and New Hanover counties learned their drinking water was contaminated with toxic GenX discharging from the Chemours plant upstream.

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News Top Story

Facing federal corruption charges, Rep. David Lewis resigns from the General Assembly

Powerful Republican lawmaker admits wrongdoing, seeks plea deal In early 2019, State Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican, introduced a bill entitled "Civic Responsibility in Education." The measure would have required public school districts to teach students about respect for authority and service to others. The bill language defined good citizenship as "obeying the laws of the nation and State...

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Environment Top Story

PW exclusive: Herbicide-tainted compost plaguing NC farmers and gardeners

Yard waste, specifically illegally sprayed grass, is suspected as a source The tomatoes grew necks like gourds. The leaves of the purple cornflower, a favorite of butterflies, were twisted and deformed. More plants — cucumbers, peppers, green beans, even the majestic Roselle Hibiscus — began to wither and fail. Earlier this summer throughout central and western North Carolina, gardeners flooded their neighborhood listservs, county extension offices and garden stores with complaints: Something was killing their plants, en masse.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at NC’s waste stream and recycling efforts

In 1972, my family bought our first color TV, a 26-inch screen illuminated by cathode-ray tubes and encased in a behemoth cherry cabinet made by RCA that was roughly the size of a stove. But it was an upgrade from the 19-inch plastic black-and-white model on which we had watched Johnny Carson, Batman and Robin and the first moon landing, so my father’s near-hernia to haul in this exciting new piece of furniture was worth it.

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Environment Top Story

Promises, promises: 11 years after a federal agreement to stop GenX contamination, Chemours makes a similar promise to the state

The news sounded significant, if not groundbreaking: A 2019 state consent order was amended yesterday to force Chemours to stop 99% of GenX and PFAS contamination from entering the Cape Fear River, a drinking water source for hundreds of thousands of people downstream.

“This is a huge win for the Cape Fear River and the people who depend on it. This plan will ensure that contaminated groundwater, streams, and runoff no longer pollute the river and don’t reach communities downstream,” said Kemp Burdette, Cape Fear Riverkeeper in a prepared statement.

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Environment Top Story

BREAKING: DEQ denies key permits for MVP Southgate natural gas pipeline

Division of Water Resources cites doubts about MVP Mainline project, says construction in NC could cause "unnecessary water quality impacts" Another natural gas pipeline in North Carolina has been derailed, at least temporarily, as the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has denied a water quality permit for the MVP Southgate project that would route through Rockingham and Alamance counties.

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Environment Top Story

Along now-defunct Atlantic Coast Pipeline route, landowners are left in the lurch

Environmental destruction, property entanglements will take years to address

Behind a black wooden farm gate, near Wade in Cumberland County, used to lie a meadow. Serene, tree-lined, it was a spot of utopia where Donovan McLaurin had planned to build a small house for himself.

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Environment Top Story

PW special report part two: Lax local regulation allows toxic carcinogen to infiltrate drinking water across the Cape Fear River Basin

It took a little more than two weeks for the wastewater contaminated with the toxic chemical 1,4-Dioxane to travel the 50 miles from Greensboro to Pittsboro. On Aug. 23, 2019, thousands of taps in the small Chatham County town flowed with water containing levels of the compound up to 300 times greater than the health goal set by the EPA.

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Environment Top Story

PW special report: While toxic chemical polluted Cape Fear River Basin, some utilities officials dismissed public health risk

One Greensboro official falsely accused scientist of scaring public for private gain; Reidsville sought help from Sen. Berger’s office

On the cloudy, muggy morning of Aug. 7, 2019, William Burdick, an industrial compliance specialist for the City of Greensboro, dipped several empty vials into the wastewater at the TZ Osborne treatment plant. He sealed the vials, packed them in a cooler on ice, and waited for Pace Labs to retrieve them for analysis.

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COVID-19 Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: What’s immune to the economic pain of COVID-19? The NC lottery.

The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked the finances of millions of Americans: Record unemployment, the widespread closure of major companies and small businesses, and for those who have been hospitalized with the virus, medical bills. But of all the ways the virus has upended our lives, the state lottery has remained unscathed.

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