David Boraks

David Boraks is a WFAE weekend host and a producer for "Charlotte Talks." He's a veteran Charlotte-area journalist who has worked part-time at WFAE since 2007 and for other outlets including DavidsonNews.net and The Charlotte Observer.

A public hearing starts Monday in Raleigh on Duke Energy's planned acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas. Approval by the North Carolina Utilities Commission is the deal's final hurdle. 

Duke announced last October it was buying Piedmont for $6.7 billion. That includes $4.9 billion in cash and taking over $1.8 billion in Piedmont debt. Piedmont has two things Duke wants:  

Updated 11 p.m.

Governor Pat McCrory has signed a bill that will allow Duke Energy to store coal ash in place permanently at as many as half its plants in North Carolina. The bill also provides a permanent water supply to neighbors of Duke's coal ash ponds. 



  Follow-up tests last week found no arsenic in Mountain Island Lake, according to a report from the state Department of Environmental Quality.  

Tests last month had found arsenic at nearly 10 times federal limits, near where Duke Energy was draining water from coal ash ponds at the Riverbend plant in Mount Holly.  

Updated 6:15pm

After nearly a century generating power in North Carolina, aluminum maker Alcoa is selling its four hydroelectric dams along the 

Yadkin River. The buyer is a Maryland company that bills itself as a producer of clean energy.

 State regulators have delivered another blow to environmentalists trying to block a new power plant in Asheville.  The North Carolina Utilities Commission says two groups must post a $98 million bond before they can appeal.

That's nearly 10 times the amount regulators originally set for an appeal by environmental groups NC WARN and The Climate Times. The commission says the bond is needed to pay Duke Energy's costs if the project is delayed.

 Charlotte leaders gathered Friday afternoon to mourn over police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota and Thursday night's killings of police in Dallas. There was anger and sadness, and a call to use the incidents to build community. 

Duke Energy has stopped draining coal ash ponds into Mountain Island Lake after recent county tests found elevated levels of arsenic in the water. State environmental regulators say they’re investigating whether Duke violated state law.

  A bill that would have banned wind farms across much of North Carolina died when the state legislature adjourned last week, but several lawmakers said Thursday they'll reintroduce it next year.  

Updated 9:11 p.m.

Lawmakers have reached a compromise with Gov. Pat McCrory on how to revise state law requiring cleanups at Duke Energy's North Carolina coal ash sites.  The new bill could let Duke leave ash where it is at some plants, instead of removing it.

North Carolina was once a top wine producer - until Prohibition killed the industry. But it's growing again. The North Carolina Wine & Grape Council says the state now has 186 wineries and adds about a dozen new ones a year. Dover Vineyards in Concord is one of those startups.

 An unaffiliated candidate has gathered enough signatures to get her name on the November ballot as a challenger for the state 98th District House seat. Jane Campbell of Davidson will face Republican incumbent John Bradford of Cornelius, who is seeking his second term.

The North Carolina Senate approved a bill Monday that would ban wind farms across much of the state. The "Military Operations Protection Act," which passed 33-14, would not allow wind turbines in areas with military training flights.

Time may be running out for North Carolina lawmakers to reach a compromise on how to update the state's coal ash cleanup law. That's according to the chief sponsor of a bill that Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed last week.

The North Carolina General Assembly is considering a catch-all regulatory reform bill that would, among other things, end the ban on dumping electronics in landfills, allow sales of pet turtles, and let local distilleries sell online.

State regulators will hold a hearing June 17 to help determine whether environmentalists should have to pay a multimillion dollar appeal bond before they challenge approval of a Duke Energy power plant in Asheville. 

 Gov. Pat McCrory has followed through on his threat to veto a bill revising the state's coal ash cleanup law. In a statement Monday night, McCrory said the bill's attempt to revive the Coal Ash Management Commission was unconstitutional. He also said the bill weakens environmental protections.

A superior court judge this week ordered Duke Energy to dig up and remove coal at four North Carolina plants - something it's already doing under the state's 2014 coal ash cleanup law.

Judge Paul Ridgeway ordered excavations of coal ash basins at the Riverbend plant in Mount Holly as well as plants on the Dan River, Asheville, and Wilmington.  State regulators had sued Duke in 2013 to seek cleanups at the four plants, and environmental groups later joined the suits.

DUNCAN McFADYEN: North Carolina's Division of Motor Vehicles ruled last week that Tesla can't sell its electric cars at a store in Charlotte. That has a lot of people scratching their heads - why not? WFAE's David Boraks is with me now to talk about it.

The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has denied Tesla Motors' application to sell its electric cars at a new store near Charlotte. 

Lawmakers are debating a bill that would give Duke Energy more time and flexibility in cleaning up coal ash at its North Carolina plants. A Duke official said Thursday that Duke needs the change because it can't hit state deadlines for removing the ash at most of its plants.

  Duke Energy will have to remove coal ash stored near all 14 of its North Carolina power plants under final risk classifications out Wednesday from state regulators. But that may not be the last word.

Federal officials issued a directive to school districts nationwide Friday saying they must treat transgender students according to the gender they identify with.  That brought another round of criticism from North Carolina officials, including Gov. Pat McCrory, who said federal agencies don't have the authority to decide school policies for bathrooms, locker rooms and other facilities.

In late March, fans of Tesla's luxury electric cars swarmed its website and stores to reserve the new Model 3. It’s a lower-priced design aimed at the mass market.  But delivering those cars next year could be a problem: Traditional auto dealers are fighting its plan for new showrooms, including one in Charlotte.

  Supporters and opponents of House Bill 2 both rallied near the legislature Monday, as lawmakers returned for the new session. And as they returned, four Democratic representatives introduced a bill to repeal the controversial law.

 State Senate Leader Phil Berger says he doesn’t envision any changes to House Bill 2 during the short session that begins Monday, including one revision requested by Gov. Pat McCrory. He also said he’ll push for a 2 percent state budget increase, including another round of teacher raises. 

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