NCGA

McCrory backs Troxler on banning guns from state fair

Increasing the likelihood of Paul Valone's head exploding from rage and frustration:

Gov. Pat McCrory doesn’t want to allow guns into the N.C. State Fair, according to his office. That means he’s supporting Steve Troxler, the head of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in trying to uphold a ban on firearms at the Fair in the face of a potential legal challenge.

Troxler is a supporter of the right to carry a concealed firearm, but believes that guns would be detrimental to the Fair’s family-friendly environment, he said at a press briefing on Tuesday. McCrory supports that position, according to Josh Ellis, a spokesman for the governor. “Commissioner Troxler called the governor yesterday to discuss the situation. The governor agrees with the commissioner’s conclusion,” Ellis wrote in an email on Wednesday night.

Just a warning to the Gubernatorial staff: You can expect a barrage of nasty phone calls incited by Grass Roots NC and NC Renegade, and you should record every single one of them for security purposes. There may be some e-mails as well, but it's hard to bark and growl in an electronic format

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke Energy to recreate the wheel, says it has a rounder version in mind

Reassessing water that's already been reassessed:

Duke Energy has met its first deadline under the regulatory framework codified in the state’s new coal ash law, providing regulators with detailed plans for assessing the groundwater issues at its 14 operating and retired coal plants.

Environmental groups have criticized the state for requiring the new assessment program. They contend the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources already has evidence of leaks from Duke coal ash ponds into groundwater.

There is abundant evidence that Duke Energy's water quality testing protocol is miserably flawed. Both DWQ and third party testing have found much higher concentrations of toxins than reported by the utility, so all this reassessment will accomplish is more conflicting data, and more delays for remediation. Future headline: "Duke Energy tests have confirmed coal ash ponds much safer than previously reported."

Something fishy going on with coastal Republicans

Apparently enforcing the law is bad for somebody's business:

The state budget, echoing a directive from the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission, gave Dr. Louis Daniel, NCDMF’s executive director, the authority to enter into an Joint Enforcement Agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service that would provide the state with an estimated $600,000 per year to allow the marine patrol and NMFS enforcement officers to respond to fisheries violations in either state or federal waters off North Carolina.

But Daniel is apparently waiting on directions from John Skvarla, director of the NCDMF’s parent N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, before doing anything. And Skvarla is apparently waiting for an okay from Gov. Pat McCrory. Why? Six weeks ago, Daniel, Skvarla, McCrory, Rep. Thom Tillis (speaker of the state house and a candidate for the U.S. Senate) and Sen. Rep. Phil Berger (president of the state senate) received a letter from 10 Republican legislators expressing their opposition to the JEA, despite its having been part of the budget that was passed by both Republican-controlled houses of the legislature.

They cut the Fishery's enforcement budget in lieu of receiving these Federal dollars, and now they're trying to block that partnership. And the only logical reason is: The big commercial fishing operations are profiting from violations of the law, and they want to sink the boats of those who are tasked with enforcing them. Law and order, indeed.

NC's environment suffers under voting public's lack of concern

Callous disregard or guilty conscience?

It’s been a big year for environmental news in North Carolina. First there was a major coal ash spill into the Dan River in February that raised concerns about water quality. And there’s been a push for more hydraulic fracturing – better known as “fracking.” It’s led to packed houses at town hall meetings across the region.

But these issues aren’t likely to change the political landscape. That’s according to Jason Husser. He’s an assistant professor of political science at Elon University and also works on the university’s poll. He spoke with WFDD’s Paul Garber about where the environment ranks among voters and where it could make a difference.

This is not surprising. For years, polls have steadily shown that only about 3% of voters put environmental concerns at the top of their list of most important issues. That may have increased slightly in the wake of the spill and the looming fracking problems, but hoping it will be a major factor in November is probably naïve. I explored some of the reasons for this in an op-ed I wrote earlier in the year:

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