Lisa Sorg

Lisa Sorg

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

After lead found in several city parks, Durham offers free blood tests for kids, pregnant people, starting today

By: - August 31, 2023

People who are pregnant and young children can have their blood tested for lead — for free — at the Durham County Health Department. The program starts today; no insurance is required. Children must be between 6 months and 6 years old. Lead is a neurotoxin. Children with very high levels of lead in their […]

This map of southeastern North Carolina shows areas in red that are at high risk for flooding from Hurricane Idahlia: New Hanover, Columbus, Brunswick, Pender, Carteret and parts of southern Bladen and Craven counties. There are dozens of hazardous waste sites in these counties, signified by white, blue and black dots.

Landfills, hazardous waste, hog farms: what lies in the path of Hurricane Idalia in North Carolina

By: - August 30, 2023

Hundreds of landfills and hazardous waste sites, as well as thousands of enormous hog and poultry farms are in the path of Hurricane Idalia, expected to arrive in North Carolina on Wednesday afternoon. Although by the time Idalia reaches the state, it will likely have been downgraded to a tropical storm, the National Weather Service […]

A photo of a wetland, similar to a swamp, in the Croatan National Forest. It is in a shaded area and sunlight is filtering through, dappling the water.

Wetlands are the “memory” of the landscape. When they are lost, so are our stories.

By: - August 25, 2023

Also check out a new feature, “The Understory,” an audio field trip that explores important places and environmental issues in North Carolina. In this episode, we visit the Croatan National Forest to see various types of wetlands, including those that are at highest risk of being harmed or eliminated altogether. Our guides are Samantha Krop, the […]

A basketball goal at Walltown Park has a yellow caution tape tied to the goalpost and to an orange snow fence to prevent access to lead contaminated the soil. The contamination is on the edge of the paved court.

Final report shows Walltown, East Durham parks most affected by lead contamination in soil

By: - August 24, 2023

Pieces of glass and porcelain, more than 70 years old, were found in lead-contaminated soil at several Durham parks, evidence that old incinerators are a likely source, according to a final report released by the city last night. The findings by city contractor Mid-Atlantic Associates, confirm and underscore sampling conducted in the fall of 2021, […]

This map shows the location of the proposed 1,500-acre Piedmont Lithium mine, just east of Cherryville in Gaston County.

Piedmont Lithium gets cold shoulder in Gaston County

By: - August 18, 2023

Locke Bell and Warren Snowdon hiked through a Gaston County forest, its foliage still full despite the lateness of the year. It was 2021, and they and some friends had spent the afternoon traversing creeks and streams and cliffs, and paying their respects at a family cemetery. “Oh my God, right through there,” Bell said, […]

a sign alongside a road reads "Stop RDU Quarry"

DEQ must grant Wake Stone’s mining permit, pay attorney’s fees, judge rules in a scolding opinion

By: - August 15, 2023

Just two months into his job as director of the state Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources, Brian Wrenn faced one of the most contentious mining applications in recent state history. Details of his decision, issued 681 days after the application was filed, would reveal the pressure, chaos and even rancor that was boiling […]

NC Attorney General asks US Supreme Court to take up state’s ag-gag law

By: - August 14, 2023

The State Attorney General’s Office has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of North Carolina’s ag-gag law, twice struck down by lower courts as unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. Represented by Attorney General Josh Stein, the state argued that a Supreme Court decision is necessary to clarify the various courts’ legal interpretations, […]

A basketball goal at Walltown Park has a yellow caution tape tied to the goalpost and to an orange snow fence to prevent access to lead contaminated the soil. The contamination is on the edge of the paved court.

Durham closes playground at Northgate Park after further analysis showed lead in soil sample

By: - August 12, 2023

The City of Durham has closed an unlined playground in Northgate Park after additional lab testing found elevated levels of lead in a soil sample beneath a foot of mulch, according to the Parks and Recreation Department. The other two playgrounds contain liners between the mulch and the underlying soil; those areas remain open. The […]

A red wolf stares directly into the camera. It has erect ears, has a long snout, black nose, and its fur is brown, red, white and gray. Photo by US Fish and Wildlife Service

US Fish and Wildlife reaches settlement with animal welfare groups over protection of endangered red wolf

By: - August 10, 2023

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reached a settlement agreement with three animal welfare organizations that requires the agency to diligently work to ensure the survival of the endangered red wolf. The plaintiffs were the Red Wolf Coalition, based in Tyrrell County, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Animal Welfare Institute. They were represented by […]

A photo of a burned home

Durham fire dept burned Duke heiress’s house for training. Lead paint blew into the neighborhood.

By: - August 9, 2023

For 83 years, Les Terrasses, a 5,000-square-foot mansion once owned by the tobacco heiress Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, sat perched above Bivins Street in Durham, guarded by an ornate white iron gate and adorned with shutters the color of a Queen Elizabeth rose.    On July 14, the Durham Fire Department burned the house to […]

Water pours from a kitchen faucet

For people on private wells, race and income often determine whether water is safe to drink

By: - August 7, 2023

Roughly 2.4 million North Carolinians rely on private wells for their drinking water. But unlike public water systems, private wells are not regulated under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.  Instead of a utility being responsible for ensuring the drinking water is free of contaminants, residents on private wells are the stewards of their own […]

Duke University researchers found areas at Walltown Park with high levels of lead (left), indicated by orange and red circles; Mid-Atlantic Associates, hired by the City of Durham, found hotspots in the same regions, represented by blue dots, initially confirming the earlier findings. (Maps: Duke University, Mid-Atlantic)

Preliminary test results confirm areas of East Durham, Walltown parks contaminated with lead

By: - August 4, 2023

Contractors hired by the City of Durham have found hotspots of lead-contaminated soil at two parks, as well as at the old Sign and Signal Shop, prompting officials to fence off the affected areas no later than today. According to an update from the City published last night, these parks have lead above the EPA’s […]