Facing South Weekly Wrap Up

I'm experimenting with something here, redistributing a weekly email I receive from the Institute for Southern Studies. I appreciate getting it, and you may want to sign up for it too.

If I'm not supposed to be doing, somebody say so.

:)

*COULD SEPARATION OF POWERS LAWSUIT SINK NC FRACKING? [ http://www.southernstudies.org/2015/01/could-separation-of-powers-lawsuit-sink-nc-frackin.html ]* With help from an environmental law firm, a conservation group and a landowner are challenging the constitutionality of the North Carolina commission formed to regulate the controversial gas drilling technique. But fracking's challenges in the state are not only legal -- they're also economic. (1/8/2015)

Chatham and Lee Counties' opposition to Duke Energy's coal ash dumping plans

Hat-tip to Facing South's Sue Sturgis for providing some numbers:

Tons of coal ash that Duke Energy, which has been under scrutiny since a spill last year from one of its storage ponds contaminated the Dan River, has said it plans to move from existing high-risk dumps to other sites over the next 15 years: 100 million

Responsibility Duke Energy will bear for the waste once it's dumped in the abandoned mines, thanks to a scheme in which ownership of the ash will be transferred to a subsidiary of Charah, the Kentucky-based company Duke is contracting with to handle the disposal: none

Frankly, this shuffling of responsibility for the "disposition" of toxic waste should be outlawed. It's in the best interests of not only local governments and the people they represent, but of state government as well. If this plan goes awry, with drinking water wells fouled and a massive, costly cleanup required, who do you think's going to pay for that? That's right, the taxpayers. Even if the EPA declared it a Superfund site and took Charah's subsidiary to court, history has shown that could take decades to resolve.

Disruptive Innovation & Education

I was not surprised to see the NCGA Repubs were holding a closed meeting Thursday on education issues. Held behind closed doors In Kannapolis and not open to the public, they had several presentations, mostly from entities that favor the privatization of public schools.

I sat in on the NCGA Education Oversight committee meeting last Tuesday, where only one bill was brought forward. That draft bill will fix a situation where a retired educator is asked to come back to work temporarily, but IRS regs forced the school system to give them a bronze-level health care plan, whereas in retirement, they have a gold-level plan. Many were not heeding the call for temp employment so they did not lose the higher level of health insurance. The proposed bill (no number for it yet) will fix that situation.

Rewriting history care of the Koch Brothers

A little more freedom for teachers to choose:

The state school board on Thursday approved a state Department of Public Instruction document expanding recommended sources for the history course beyond material from the Bill of Rights Institute. The institute gets funding from David Koch, his brother Charles Koch's foundation and a family foundation. The Kochs are major donors to tea party and libertarian groups.

The state education agency is now encouraging teachers to pull materials on America's founding principles from sources that also include the National Humanities Center, the Library of Congress and the state Bar Association.

Which they should have been encouraged to do from the start. The taxpayers should never have footed the bill for a $100,000 contract with an astro-turf organization in the first place, and if there are still any dollars flowing to this "institute" the faucet needs to be turned off.

Daily dose: Back to the bigotry edition

NC lawmakers to ask US Supreme Court to take up marriage amendment (WNCN-TV) -- North Carolina's legislative leaders say they plan to file a formal petition requesting the United States Supreme Court to take up the state's ban on same-sex marriages. On Thursday, Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker-Designee Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said they plan to file a petition requesting that the U.S. Supreme Court hear legal arguments for the state's marriage amendment. "We've said all along North Carolina voters deserve to have their voices heard, and this important issue won't ever be settled until a final decision is made by the U.S. Supreme Court," Berger said. "Today's petition is the most efficient and cost-effective way to reach a final resolution."

http://www.wncn.com/story/27795748/nc-lawmakers-to-ask-us-supreme-court-to-take-up-marriage-amendment

Kay Hagan vs the skinny-dipping Senators

Not really that funny:

Kay Hagan just wanted to swim. It was late 2008, and the Democrat was newly arrived on Capitol Hill as North Carolina’s junior senator-elect. But Hagan was told that the Senate pool was males-only. Why? Because some of the male senators liked to swim naked.

It took an intervention by Senator Chuck Schumer, head of the Rules Committee, to put a stop to the practice, but even then “it was a fight,” remembers pollster Celinda Lake, who heard about the incident when the pool revolt was the talk among Washington women.

Really? And it took a female Senator complaining to make that stop? If I got elected to the Senate (work with me on this), and went to take a swim only to find nekkid Senators wallowing around in the water, I would have "accidentally" dropped a plugged-in hair dryer in there. Nobody wants to see that.

Daily dose: Governor who?

POLICIES & POLITICS

Despite Mercedes loss, GOP legislators slow to heed McCrory’s call on incentives (WRAL-TV) -- A day before Mercedes-Benz USA passed on North Carolina sites and opted to move its headquarters to Atlanta, Gov. Pat McCrory urged legislators to act quickly when they return to Raleigh in the coming weeks to shore up the state's job incentive programs. But state lawmakers don't appear to be in a hurry.

http://www.wral.com/lost-mercedes-deal-unlikely-to-speed-action-on-incentives/14333252/

Earthquakes!

Maybe if we get really lucky, we can get some earthquakes here in North Carolina too.

The authorities in Ohio ordered a halt to fracking at seven wells on March 10 after the two biggest quakes there, measured at magnitudes 2.8 and 3, were felt in Poland Township, about 10 miles south of Youngstown on the Pennsylvania border.

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