NCGA

Wos and Tucker clash over DHHS funding

Apparently it costs a lot to mismanage a state agency:

At the height of the exchange, Wos made an impassioned request for committee members to see that her funding requests have to be done, in part, “for the future of the state.”

“Don’t talk down to me,” Tucker said to Wos. “I’m responsible to the taxpayer to see if there’s any savings” in the requests. Wos, attempting a cool down, told Tucker “we will continue to give you whatever information you like. We will present our business case more accurately if this was not sufficient.”

The first step in securing "the future of the state" is for Wos to return to the only occupation she seems qualified to do, hosting dinner parties. That may not completely stop the drain on taxpayer resources, but at least they won't be sucked into the event horizon of the black hole that is Aldona Wos:

Living in Dukeville: The epitome of corporate irresponsibility

Just one more reason Duke Energy can't be trusted:

"It's bad to live in the United States and don't have good water to drink," said Ron, whose family farm sits just a couple hundred yards from the plant's three ponds housing more than 5 million tons of coal ash. "One neighbor is even bathing her young children in bottled water," JoAnne added, explaining that many in their community are worried about their drinking water.

"It's terrible," explained Dukeville resident Tyson Beaver. "We immediately switched from drinking well water and started buying bottled water to drink and to cook with and to wash dishes."

Water contamination is the main issue where fracking and coal ash converge, and what's happening in Dukeville will soon be happening in numerous other communities across the state. The Legislature needs to pass a bill (don't hold your breath) that will dictate whoever contaminates private drinking water wells must supply fresh water to replace the tainted water, at the expense of the entity who tainted the well. That's not radical, it's the bare minimum of what we expect from our elected officials.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Sanford stuck between clay and a hard place

This is one battle they've already lost:

“In the early 90s, Waste Management tried to put a landfill out at the same site that was just purchased by Chara,” Crumpton continued. “Then there was an attempt in 2006 where D H Griffin was trying to site a construction and demolition debris landfill out in the Cumnock area.” Chara is the landfill management company Duke Energy contracted to supervise and operate the coal ash storage sites in Lee and Chatham counties.

The difference between past attempts at putting landfills in Lee County and Duke’s plan to transfer coal ash from Mount Holly and Wilmington to the 410-acre site off Post Office Road is that, pending approval from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the plan to store coal ash in Lee County is a done deal.

Granted, taking advantage of an already-existing impermeable layer of clay for coal ash storage is smart, but communities should still be able to reject such projects if a majority of the citizens don't approve. Giving Duke Energy carte blanche to put that crap anywhere they want in the state is a recipe for disaster, because money (cost) will eventually be their only concern. That's how we got into this mess in the first place.

Academic standards for NC schools

Today, I sat in on a meeting of the Academic Standards Review Commission, the group that has until December, 2015, to come up with education standards so incredibly high they will put the Common Core to shame. The meeting was held in the Administration building in Raleigh and many of the Commission members had driven in from the far ends of the state. Finding information about the Commission meeting was somewhat difficult. I only found out about this meeting by sending an email to a reporter who wrote an article about their September meeting.

Polluters get a free pass with "Biological Trump" rule

Not unlike throwing a suspected witch into a river to see if she drowns:

Proposed revisions to state surface water quality standards, including the numbers the state uses to evaluate metals, have been approved by the N.C. Environmental Management Commission in response to the federally-required Triennial Review of Surface Water Quality Standards. Also included in approval of the recommendations made during this standards review are:

•Health protective water quality standards for 2,4-D, a widely used herbicide.
Updated aquatic life protective concentrations for arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium III, chromium VI, copper, lead, nickel, silver and zinc.
•Clarity on allowing site-specific standards to be developed when studies are done in accordance with guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Bolding mine. I'm still perusing this massive document (1,000+ pages), but the gist of this "aquatic life" modification is to throw out previous toxicity levels and wait to see just how massive the fish-kills are after contamination:

NC GOP stacking the deck against Solar farms

Fracking cheerleader Womack all-of-a-sudden worried about water quality:

“It would impact the county because that land, you know, there are taxes being paid to the county now, and it would reduce some of those taxes, so it's not a good deal for the county,” Commission Chairman Charlie Parks said.

Commissioner Jim Womack said while he was also concerned about solar farms not paying as much in taxes, he did not want to stand in the way of renewable energy development as long as taxpayers aren't bearing the burden in the long run. “[The solar farms] end up with potentially large amounts of disruption of the soil with storm water runoff, which we could bear the cost of later,” he said.

Yes, if they're not landscaped properly, Solar farms could exacerbate stormwater runoff. But it's standard procedure to install berms and other features to avoid such problems. What isn't standard, however, is Womack's concern for water quality. Here's another Commissioner from a neighboring County:

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