Four years ago, a whistleblower and I broke NC’s ag-gag law. The environment and public health are better for it.

BY: - February 26, 2023

Now that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled North Carolina’s ag-gag law — as it applies to news-gathering — is unconstitutional, I can tell you that I violated it. To be clear, I did not trespass, but I checked several of the law’s boxes. Likewise, the worker who agreed to document and obtain […]

State ag officials: Dicamba also contaminated compost, but original source remains unknown

BY: - September 14, 2020

A state Department of Agriculture investigation found powerful herbicides Dicamba — now banned — and Clopyralid in several compost samples that killed and damaged plants in dozens of gardens and small farms in North Carolina. However, investigators could not identify the original source of contamination. Policy Watch reported last month that McGill Environmental in Chatham County unknowingly […]

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

BY: - August 19, 2020

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.


This week’s top stories on NC Policy Watch

BY: - September 13, 2019

1. PW special report: News and commentary on surprise NC House veto override vote NC House overrides budget veto in surprise vote (Updated) In a surprise move that Democratic members loudly decried as treachery, the North Carolina House of Representatives voted 55-9 this morning to override Gov. Cooper’s veto of the state budget bill passed […]

PFAS in garden compost: Comment now on proposed rules on how much, if any, contaminants this material should contain.

BY: - July 8, 2019

Compost is supposed to enrich your garden soil for a healthy summer bounty: tomatoes, peppers, green beans and melons. But some compost used on gardens and farms in North Carolina — and nationwide — contains perfluorinated compounds, or PFAS. The state’s compost rules are up for re-adoption, but they don’t require compost — or the materials used to […]

PW special report: Unregulated, untested and unknown

BY: - April 25, 2019

Investigation shows that dangerous chemical was included in materials received by NC composting facility This is the first of a two-part investigation into how the lack of federal regulations and state oversight allowed 1,4-Dioxane, a likely carcinogen and emerging contaminant, to be trucked in wastewater sludge to a North Carolina compost facility. Part 2 runs tomorrow morning.