BlueNC @
Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 9:35am

THE SPIILL
Environmentalists slam new coal ash bill (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Critics of compromise coal ash legislation agreed to by North Carolina House and Senate conferees faulted the measure Wednesday for allowing the toxic material to remain in place at most of Duke Energy’s leaking dumps. The legislation requires the removal of ash within five years from the utility’s Asheville plant and three other facilities, but would let the material be capped in place at 10 other plants if they are deemed “low risk” by a new commission.
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/08/20/environmentalis...

Daily dose
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James @
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 3:28pm

It's hard to imagine a more privileged gang of upper-crust conservatives than those who are founding members of The 12th State Forum. Take a look for yourself.

And then consider the contradictions. 12SF promises itself to be above partisanship, working only for North Carolina, yet 100% of its leadership are Republican hacks and operatives. 12SF says it wants prosperity for all, and yet it advocates policies that have been proven again and again to divide, conquer, and perpetuate a permanent underclass here in North Carolina. And of course, they're all white fratboys.

It must be said that 12SF has positioned itself between a rock and a hard place. As they try to preserve shrinking influence in our growing population, they will inevitably become more strident, more afraid, and more dangerous.

Propaganda from their website:

12th State
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Posmo @
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 10:48am

Most people have now heard about the NC GOP mutiny against Thom Tillis in the failure of House bill 1224.

Why couldn't Tillis corral his Republican caucus? He rules through fear and intimidation, and it's rare that his party colleagues cross him.

Well, perhaps the very gerrymandering that put him in his position of power also cost him the ability to get what he wants when the stakes are high.

“[Tillis] is one of the most criticized speakers in modern times and, because of redistricting, does not hold the same degree of power over caucus members through controlling huge amounts of campaign money that people need for reelection,” [Meredith College political science expert David] McLennan said.

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BlueNC @
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 10:47am

Seeking help from the courts:

Last Thursday, in a Beaufort County Superior Court case that took place in Wilson, Judge Milton Fitch, Jr. granted the town’s request for a temporary restraining order, keeping Vidant Health and Pantego Creek, LLC, who objected to the ruling, from removing equipment from the building, shutting off the building’s utility service or demolishing the building, said Town Attorney John Tate.

“The town was concerned that equipment was going out of the building and they were preparing for demolition,” Tate said. “On Wednesday, a crane showed up at the hospital and that looked quite ominous to us so we filed for a temporary restraining order that will simply keep the hospital intact while we work out a solution.”

This conflict should force us to re-evaluate the way we approach the nexus of health care and the private sector. When your "business" has a major impact on the lives and health of a large percentage of the community, a P&L statement should not be sufficient evidence to plunge that community into a life-threatening crisis. This problem is screaming for a statutory solution, but I shudder to think what the GOP-controlled NCGA would come up with. They'd probably authorize Vidant to demolish Town Hall.

133
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 9:54am

Stick a Band-Aid on it and do a victory dance:

The legislation mandates that ash be excavated at only four of Duke’s 14 North Carolina coal-fired power plants. “Low-risk” ponds can be capped in place without removing ash. A moratorium on Duke seeking rate hikes to pay for coal ash cleanup would expire in January 2015, as the Senate bill had stated. The House had pushed for the moratorium to end in December 2016.

Contaminated groundwater has been found near ash ponds at all of Duke’s coal plants. The Southern Environmental Law Center said the committee changes seek “to weaken existing law and protect Duke Energy from taking responsibility for its coal ash waste.”

“Allowing coal ash to be left in unlined, leaking pits across North Carolina with documented groundwater contamination at each site is not a cleanup plan nor does it protect the people of North Carolina,” the center said.

This isn't a compromise bill, it's the bastard child of a horrible plan and an already compromised plan. And the only reason it's moving forward is political in nature, so Republicans won't get punished in November for doing nothing.

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James @
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 8:51am

McCrory and the NCGOP now proudly claim:

How about this one? The North Carolina General Assembly now contains the biggest bunch of liars in the history of the Old North State.

NCGA
264
James @
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 8:15am

BERGER GETS THE PLUMS, LEAVES McCRORY AND TILLIS WITH THE PITS
More and more it appears that Phil Berger will end up being the winner – at least as far as getting done what you want done is concerned – by the time all the air goes out of the current legislative session. House Speaker and GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate Thom Tillis just wanted to somehow look in charge. He’s looked desperate and victimized by circumstances that he hasn’t been able to control. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory wanted a teacher pay increase to get educators and parents off his back. Instead got a Senate-designed confusing mess that left teachers dissatisfied and feeling they’d been hoodwinked. McCrory wanted the legislature to pass his wife’s priority, a bill to regulate puppy mills. Didn’t happen. McCrory wanted Medicaid reform. See puppy mill bill. On the other hand, Berger and his allies in the Senate wanted to cut education spending and flatten the salary scale. Check. He wanted to deliver some action on the coal ash mess, since it happened in his district. Check. He was happy to come out with nothing, if the House didn’t go along with the incentives legislation. Check. Phil Berger isn’t running statewide and he’s got himself a custom tailored district to make sure his re-election isn’t threatened. Check. There’s more, but that would be piling on, and Berger’s too polite for that kind of thing.

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227
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 6:07pm

Hat-tip to Chris Fitzsimon for finding this:

368
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 3:21pm

The ballroom at the Elliott University Center at UNC-Greensboro was filled Saturday with Democratic women, who were all there by invitation. The women from all over NC were there for the Kay Hagan for U. S. Senate's Women's Summit.

My overall impression of the event was this: Sen. Hagan and her campaign have a well-thought out game plan in term's of on the ground organizing and communicating (including TV) strategy. Her campaign staff is young (the only young people in the room Saturday), but they appear very knowledgeable and very engaged.

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