The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources changed its position on a controversial reservoir project in Cleveland County, shortly before depositions were set to begin in a lawsuit against it.
That's right, after Bev Perdue's DENR consistently opposed an unnecessary reservoir that environmental groups call a "real estate scheme", Pat McCrony's DENR put the reservoir on a fast track.
At the Environmental Review Commission (a committee of the legislature) meeting on December 13, 2012, a number of ideas were vetted in advance of consideration for legislation this spring. One such idea was a measure to ensure that developers are held financially liable for sedimentation pollution resulting from their land-disturbing activities. Specifically, the measure would require financial assurance for land disruptions greater than 20 acres to ensure compliance with sedimentation control. A number of acceptable financial mechanisms were specified, including bonds. Financial assurance would be maintained until the site closes.
Representative Mitch Gillespie, who has since resigned his seat in order to be assistant secretary at DENR, recommended that the proposal not be reported out ... and it was not.
Veteran lawmaker Rep. Mitch Gillespie – who in 2011 literally drew a bulls-eye target on his legislative office window aimed at the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources – will resign next month to become an assistant secretary of the agency.
Setting aside for the moment the negative impact of having an outspoken opponent of DENR taking over some of its reins, over 2/3 of the voters in his district turned out to vote for Gillespie, and donors contributed over $150,000 to his campaign. And in return, they're going to get someone else as a Representative, chosen by a small group of (also) unelected people. And this:
...the bill paves the way for a study of fracking and raises some fees associated with natural gas exploration. It also gives the Department of Environment and Natural Resources authority to work with consumer advocates.
I like some of the guidance for the study, especially as related to water resources. Where the water's going to come from and where the tainted water will go afterward are crucial questions that demand hyper-specific answers. But while we're in the early days, I have a question about this:
The Yadkin River runs through the district of Republican Sen. Andrew Brock, who supports Alcoa's use of the river. He was confounded by the network's coverage last year. "We need them," he says of UNC-TV, "but we need assurances that they can't have the people who control their budget telling them to run a piece that was paid for by the opposition. We need assurances that won't happen again."
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