Lisa Sorg

Lisa Sorg

Assistant Editor and Environmental Reporter Lisa Sorg helps manage newsroom operations while covering the environment, climate change, agriculture and energy.

This is a photo of a metal sculpture and monument to firefighters. The sculpture is of three firefighters, one helping a colleague who has collapsed. Another has a firehose as if putting out a fire.

NC fire departments stuck with 120,000 gallons of toxic foam; legislation has funds to buy it back

By: - April 21, 2023

Fire departments across North Carolina have on hand more than 120,000 gallons of firefighting foam that contains toxic PFAS, according to state data, and have used it 51 times to extinguish blazes in eight months. For decades, PFAS-containing foam, known as AFFF, has been used to suppress fires involving petroleum products or other flammable liquids. […]

A map showing that an area in Winston-Salem near US 52 and Waughtown Street has many pollution sources and is 74% non-white and 88% low-income.

House Bill 689 would establish state policy on environmental justice

By: - April 19, 2023

In just one census block group in south Winston-Salem, there are four hazardous waste sites, three landfills, two contaminated dry cleaners, three tracts that are legally allowed to spread soil contaminated with gasoline or oil, 36 spills from underground petroleum storage tanks and another 18 from those above ground.  Six lots have land use restrictions […]

This photo shows a blanket of orange flames behind a chain link fence at the Wall Recycling facility in Raleigh.

Wall Recycling in Raleigh fined $64,000 for intentional fire that spiked harmful air pollutants

By: - April 14, 2023

Last November, on Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving, Tom Harris was driving on Six Forks Road near I-540 in north Raleigh when he saw a large plume of smoke on the horizon. Although Harris, who works for the state Division of Air Quality, was on vacation, he followed the smoke to Gresham Road, where […]

This aerial photograph shows the 352 acre Wolfspeed site where trees have been felled in preparation for construction

New Wolfspeed factory in Siler City would emit 203 tons of air pollutants per year

By: - April 12, 2023

Update April 13, 12:06 p.m.: The NC Department of Environmental Quality today opened the public comment period for Wolfspeed’s air permit. Deadline is May 13. Details here. Wolfspeed, a manufacturer of key components for electric vehicles, would emit a half dozen air pollutants at its new Chatham County plant, totaling 203 tons per year, state documents […]

An aerial view of the Chemours plant

New EPA data shows NC released 59 million pounds of toxic chemicals in 2021, ranks 17th in US

By: - April 12, 2023

More than 59 million pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the environment in North Carolina in 2021, according to new EPA data, the largest amount since 2015. Averaged across the state, that amount is equivalent to 1,046 pounds per square mile. The 2021 “Toxics Release Inventory” tracks discharges and emissions of nearly 800 harmful […]

One-word change in Farm Act could increase greenhouse gas emissions from hog farms

By: - April 10, 2023

A one-word change in the Farm Act could allow hog farmers to capture methane from their waste lagoons, but choose not to use the gas for energy. Instead, the farmer could merely send the potent greenhouse gas through a flare and into the air. Current law allows for methane to be collected from the farms […]

Senate bill targets ReBuild NC to get disaster relief program on track

By: - April 5, 2023

Displaced Hurricane survivors could return home more quickly if a new Senate bill aimed at ReBuild NC becomes law. Under Senate Bill 438, the state’s most vulnerable homeowners would get priority under ReBuild NC’s disaster relief program for the reconstruction or rehabs of their storm-damaged homes: People over age 62 Low-income families Families with children […]

Senate bill would strip governor of some appointment powers, give it to legislature

By: - April 4, 2023

A new bill would strip the governor of some of his appointment powers and transfer them to the state legislature, potentially teeing up another constitutional showdown reminiscent of the 2016 court case McCrory v. Berger. Senate Bill 512 would change the political complexion of nine key boards and commissions. Sen. Warren Daniel, a Republican and co-sponsor of […]

ReBuild NC defends Rescue Construction, while fining company for delays in hurricane recovery

By: - April 3, 2023

For the third time, hurricane survivors arrived at the state legislature – some sick, others frail, and all of them tired of living in motels. For the third time, lawmakers on a government oversight committee interrogated ReBuild NC Director Laura Hogshead, responsible for mismanaging the disaster recovery program. And for the third time, little substantive came […]

Despite signs of progress in hurricane recovery, ReBuild NC continues to struggle

By: - March 28, 2023

Leoni entered this world on Jan. 23, a daughter of Donnie Red Hawk McDowell and his wife, Humming Bird, hurricane survivors and members of the Tuscarora Nation.  In March, Leoni, her 3-year-old sister, Dyani, and their parents moved to a room on the second floor of an Extended Stay America in Fayetteville while their new mobile home was installed near Maxton.

Chemours blew deadline to build an underground wall to keep GenX out of Cape Fear River, but gets two-month extension

By: - March 28, 2023

Chemours missed a key deadline in building a subsurface wall at its Fayetteville Works plant that would prevent GenX and other types of toxic PFAS from entering the Cape Fear River, state documents show. The barrier wall, more than a mile long and 60 to 80 feet deep, was supposed to be complete by March […]

DOT allegedly failed to set targets to reduce driving, required as part of settlement over Wake County toll road

By: - March 27, 2023

The state Department of Transportation has not met its obligations under an historic settlement agreement over the Complete 540 toll road, according to a letter from the Southern Environmental Law Center. The letter to DOT, dated March 17, alleges the agency has failed to set targets to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled – […]