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Troxler correct in challenging conservation land swap

Removing the "Trust" from the formula:

Troxler cast the lone vote against the land deal at Tuesday’s Council of State meeting. At issue is a 20-acre tract of land deeded to the state under a conservation easement. The easements are popular among farmers who don’t want their land to ever be developed.

But developers are eyeing the Edenton site as an ideal spot for an unnamed boat manufacturer that’s considering bringing 300 jobs to the area. State environmental officials have worked out a deal that trades the 20 acres for a separate 60-acre site that will be put under a conservation easement.

First off, the amount of acreage swapped may have little bearing on the overall environmental impact of the proposed development. I'd like to think DENR was aware of that when putting this together, but my confidence in their approach to such things these days is lacking, to say the least. Second (and more important), every time we pull a stunt like this, we're sending a message to future conservation-minded donors that their wishes will only be honored as long as it suits us to do so. Not good.

Report: wind energy could reduce pollution equal to five coal plants

The carbon pollution from five coal plants could be eliminated in North Carolina if wind power is developed off the North Carolina coast, according to a new analysis by Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center. The report comes right as Congress considers whether to renew tax credits critical to wind development.

“Wind energy is a wise investment for the environment and the economy,” said Rep. David Price. “In North Carolina, developing the infrastructure to support wind power could help us meet up to a third of our energy needs while creating tens of thousands of jobs and an estimated $22 billion in economic benefit. I strongly believe that wind and other renewable sources are critical to our energy future.”

Daily dose: Tough pill to swallow version

GSK to eliminate 900 positions at its Research Triangle location (WNCN-TV) -- GlaxoSmithKline will eliminate about 900 positions from its Research Triangle Park location, and a significant number of those jobs will be in its research and development division. The drug maker said Wednesday that it has begun notifying employees of corporate restructuring that will occur during 2015. Most employees will be notified in early 2015 of the status of their jobs, the company said. In a filing with the N.C. Department of Commerce, GSK said about 350 positions will be eliminated in the first quarter, followed by 450 more positions during the second quarter. The company said the remaining 100 positions will be eliminated by the end of 2015.
http://www.wncn.com/story/27538355/gsk-restructuring-to-impact-rd-division-at-rtp?clienttype=mobile

The Koch brothers teach history

Welcome to history class, boys and girls! Today's lesson -- in fact, every day's lesson -- will be taught by the Koch brothers.

State high school social studies teachers would be encouraged to use curriculum materials prepared by an institute funded by the conservative Koch family, under a proposal the Department of Public Instruction presented Wednesday.

Did someone put loony juice in the water over at DPI?

NC fast food worker's strike tomorrow morning

Daily dose: "Stepping on toes" edition

Whose toes are bruised? (Greensboro News & Record column) -- The 2016 election is 23 months away, but Pat McCrory already has his campaign website up and an upbeat video about his accomplishments as governor. Unbelievably, its first statement is to repeat the fairy tale that he's been "stepping on toes" of Democrats and Republicans alike. It's his toes that have been stepped on, prompting him to file a lawsuit against legislative leaders of his own party. The lawsuit was a substitute for using the power of his office -- the veto stamp -- to block legislation he didn't like. When it comes to maintaining a balance of power with the legislative branch, the executive is losing. At the same time, he seems to be happy to claim credit for a teacher pay plan approved by the legislature that was not what he proposed and tax cuts that were not "revenue-neutral" as he said he wanted. He continues to tout a "Carolina Comeback" that many parts of the state are not feeling. While North Carolina no longer has the nation's fifth-highest unemployment rate, which certainly was unacceptable, and finally has regained the jobs lost during the recession, many more people are unemployed than in 2007 -- and their unemployment benefits are much less. Furthermore, our labor force has actually declined since the beginning of 2013, despite population growth.
http://www.news-record.com/blogs/clark_off_the_record/whose-toes-are-bruised/article_74bad37c-7a70-1...

Another black man's life wasted

Sharon McCloskey at NC Policy Watch has a heart-breaking report today about a likely miscarriage of justice, fueled by racism and prosecutorial zeal. It's one of Mike Easley's most damnable legacies.

Their first attempt at a conviction resulted in a mistrial. A second trial followed, conducted this time by a young and ambitious prosecutor named Michael Easley who got the verdict the state sought. That was in 1978.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Charah and the "beneficial" use of CCRs

From your sidewalk to your dinner table, the coal ash could end up anywhere:

It's a Thursday, November 3, 2011 afternoon in Frankfort. State legislators on the Natural Resources and Environment Committee are having their little meeting. (minutes) Questions are getting answers. Oh, and Danny Gray, president of Charah®, Inc. he's there.

Question: "Is coal ash fed to livestock?"

"Commissioner Scott said no. However, Commissioner Scott noted that research is currently being done using CCRs (Coal Combustion Residuals) in gardening, and it could be considered a beneficial re-use." Gray, who probably has about zero environmental credentials, also volunteered, "CCRs can be used in wallboard, cement, and in forage crops."

Bolding mine. The company that is planning to dump store Duke Energy-generated coal ash in Lee County is also an industry leader in finding profitable ways to sweep this toxic stuff under the rug. Or beside the River:

When is a dump not a dump?

It's a great big hole in the ground that's going to be filled with waste materials. Lee County officials say that's a dump. State officials say it's not.

Lee commissioners’ chairman Charlie Parks says the Duke-Charah plan appears to be a safe use for ash – except for what they call it.

“We think this is a landfill like anything else,” he said. “You can call it what you want, but it’s a hole in the ground and you’re filling it up.”

AP US History debate: Dancing to an idiot's music

I can't believe they're even listening to this guy:

"These professors had an agenda. We've already alluded to it. Basically, they saw America not as an exceptional nation but one nation among many in a global society," said Larry Krieger, a former high school history teacher and opponent of the standards.

Krieger, who has authored a test preparation book on the AP exam and written critiques of the new course for conservative websites such as Breitbart.com, has become one of the leading voices calling for additions to the AP U.S. history guidelines. He also argues that the new guidelines are incomplete – failing to include study of important historical documents such as the Magna Carta.

Dude, the Magna Carta was penned eight hundred years ago across the Atlantic Ocean, long before Europeans "discovered" America, and even longer before they rose slightly above their ignorance and declared it independent of the crown. If you taught that document in your US History class, that goes a long way to explaining the "former high school history teacher" status.

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