NC GOP

Coal Ash Wednesday: SELC doing the jobs of ineffective regulators

Begging the question: What are we paying those regulators for?

Following lawsuits by SELC, two of the three utilities in the Carolinas -- South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper -- are removing coal ash from unlined pits near rivers to dry, lined storage facilities away from rivers and lakes. SELC is currently representing dozens of groups in 10 state and federal lawsuits to address 14 leaking coal ash sites maintained by Duke Energy throughout North Carolina.

For decades, the EPA has developed and issued guidelines to individual states on how to comply with Federal statutes on clean air and water, because the enforcement "arm" of this system relies on state environmental agencies. But due to mostly Republican oversight of these state operations, that part of the job is not getting done. The bottom line is, SELC isn't engaging in "activism" or some other hot-button term, they are stepping into an empty space where a state government regulator should be standing, and yet Republican leaders in the General Assembly would have us blame them for "meddling." Business as usual for the GOP, break something and then blame those who try to fix it.

Fraudster O'Keefe takes credit for GOP wins

Talk about your narcissistic personality disorder:

Democrat incumbent Kay Hagan went from a two-point lead to a two-point loss to Republican Thom Tillis after videos released by Project Veritas. So does the undercover work of guerrilla journalists like O’Keefe make a difference? He thinks so. … O’Keefe explained local media outlets pay attention when there are allegations of vote fraud against their candidates, especially if there is video to back the claims.

The concrete result of his work is that Voter ID laws are being given more consideration. “Sources tell me in North Carolina that they were able to get that Voter ID implemented in 2016 – it was not implemented this year but it will be – many people have said that’s directly because of our videos in the past.

So, not only did you sway the elections in several states, you also succeeded in getting legislation passed from coast to coast as well. And how are you sleeping? The current medication you're taking is known to occasionally disrupt REM sleep, so this recurring dream of being a political catalyst is not necessarily a bad thing. Tomorrow I want to talk about all these different versions of you riding in a bus. It could be enlightening.

Invitation-only offshore drilling meeting cluttered with industry lobbyists

Membership has its pricks:

Among the groups that had representatives in attendance were the Consumer Energy Alliance, the Center for Offshore Safety and the Institute for Energy Research. These groups include members of the petroleum and related industries.

Reporters were allowed to attend Gov. Pat McCrory's closing remarks, after most of the other participants had left.

His staff told reporters and representatives of environmental groups that they couldn't come in because of concerns that their attendance might arouse allegations of conflict of interest in the permit process. And attendance by special-interest groups funded by the petroleum industry would not?

It's no big surprise McCrory's bungling staff would interpret "conflict of interest" in such an ass-backwards manner. The only conflict of interest that would have arisen by having reporters and environmentalists in attendance would be a conflict between the public's best interests and the greed of the industry and its Republican puppets.

Arrogant defiance earns charter school sub-contractor probation

When it should have closed them down:

Multiple media outlets reported that Charter Day School Inc. was placed on probationary status Thursday for failing to turn over salary information about employees from a private management company who work at its schools.

At issue is whether salaries of Roger Bacon Academy employees should be public or private information. Charter Day hired Roger Bacon Academy to operate the schools. Charter Day says it doesn't have the salary information on the employees, including school headmasters and assistant headmasters.

Possibly a stupid question, but I'm going to ask it anyway: How does a charter school get awarded its "charter" if they don't even have any staff to run the school(s)? If DPI granted said charters on a lick and a promise the schools would deal with staffing later, DPI might as well just hand out the charters like lollipops at the doctor's office.

To Barack or not to Barack, that is the hindsight question

And the answer is not as obvious as many believe:

No doubt, Obama’s presence here would’ve energized some Hagan opponents, but it would also have propelled her constituents to the polls. As it was, lots of voters know a “dis” when they see one, and it was crystal clear that the president, after six years of being disrespected by Republicans, was now being disrespected by a Democratic incumbent who – despite owing her election to his coattails – was now treating him like a snaggle-toothed, bald-headed stepchild with tetter or ringworm.

Bolding mine. I know a lot of you are annoyed with Kay for her "not too far left, not too far right" declaration and apparent avoidance of the President, but rewriting history will not help us understand what happened Tuesday. Kay Hagan received 102,571 more votes than Obama did in 2008. That doesn't mean she was right to avoid the President in this election, but it does show she didn't "ride Obama's coattails" into office. Here's another take:

Job #1 between now and 2016: Young voters

As important as this election was, look at these turnout numbers:

Ballots Cast:
43.99% (2,915,757 out of 6,627,862)

43.99%

Still waiting for turnout by age-range, but I don't expect any surprises. I crunched the numbers after the Primary earlier this year, and the entire block of voters from 18-25 (that's eight separate categories) only beat 72 year-olds (one category) by one vote, 881-880. You can only rationalize that so much, and still be forced to conclude that the bulk of our efforts need to be directed at this (for all practical purposes) inactive voting demographic. More money (lots) needs to be directed to campus organizations, but that still leaves a vast number of 18-25's out of the net. And getting those potential voters activated is going to be a huge challenge, but I have a feeling it may be the only way out of this Republican nightmare we find ourselves in.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke Energy profits up 27%

I'm sure the surviving fish in the Dan River will be impressed:

Duke earned nearly $1.3 billion for the quarter, compared to $1 billion a year earlier, on $6.4 billion in revenue. Earnings per share of $1.80 were boosted 43 cents by the sale in the Midwest. Adjusted for such one-time events, earnings were $1.40 a share compared to the $1.46 of the same period last year and below analysts’ estimates of $1.52.

The company estimated its costs under North Carolina’s coal ash legislation, which mandates that Duke close its 32 coal ash ponds by 2029, at $3.4 billion. That figure is likely to change, but Duke had previously told regulators it could cost as much as $10 billion to close the ponds.

Yes, they told the regulators that before the Legislature's coal ash bill was finished and voted on, so the "scare tactics" are no longer necessary. I would normally have more to say about this, but it's apparent way too many NC voters are asleep at the wheel.

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