NCGA

Coal Ash Wednesday: Stith's refusal to testify begs the question

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What is he trying to hide?

Stith declined, on advice of attorney, to answer questions about coal ash pollution, the interaction between Duke Energy and state government, or about enforcement efforts against the utility. But he agreed to answer questions about his comments on Rudo.

McCrory gains an ally in his crusade against national media

Deflecting about CNN ignoring his attempt to deflect:

On Sept. 23, as Gov. Pat McCrory was trying to tell the world just how bad the flooding in northeastern North Carolina was, CNN cut its powerful cameras away. Then its talking heads groused that the flooding wasn’t as serious as the Charlotte police shooting and the rioting that followed.

Bullcrap. On that I suspect McCrory and I agree. “Windsor, northeastern North Carolina, did not suit the ratings game,” he told me Wednesday. “And there are people suffering down there.”

I don't mean to come off as unsympathetic, and CNN does seem to be operating like a twelve-year-old with an attitude is running things. But (unless I missed it) nobody was injured in the flooding of Windsor, and only 65 of the meager 3,600 residents had to be evacuated. Putting CNN's priorities aside for a moment, this is just one more example of McCrory getting pissy because mainstream media did not do what he wanted them to do. I feel for the people of Windsor, because this is the third time they've been flooded in the last couple of decades. The most important thing this angry editorialist can do is follow up and see if McCrory actually does something to help instead of talking and shaking hands:

The GOP's dangerously bent refusal to acknowledge Climate Change

They will keep their heads in the sand until the tide washes them away:

This summer, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives tacked onto a military funding bill a provision that prohibits the use of federal funds by the military to study global climate change or even to plan how to respond to it.U.S. Rep. Ken Buck from Colorado called the military concern with global climate change a radical climate change agenda.

Actually, Buck doesn't have his head in the sand, it's in the clouds. Greeley, Colorado is 4,659 feet above sea level. Let that sink in, and while you're contemplating how inappropriate it is for somebody living there to screw around with the military's long-term mission to deal with sea-level rise, contemplate why his Republican colleagues would let him do it. Short answer? Because his constituents are a lot less likely to punish him for such an idiotic policy move, as would the constituents of a Representative from Florida. Or North Carolina.

Republican calls for deregulation should be ignored

Corporations are already out of control:

“You have regulations on top of regulations, and new companies cannot form and old companies are going out of business. And you (Hillary Clinton) want to increase the regulations and make them even worse. I’m going to cut regulations.” Even as Donald Trump’s words were echoing in the Hofstra University auditorium Monday night, outraged members of Congress – Democrats and Republicans -- had been grilling pharmaceutical and banking executives over bilking American consumers.

Will NC Republicans have to pay the piper in November?

Thomas Mills reads the tea leaves:

The business wing of the GOP keeps touting the modest economic gains North Carolina has seen while desperately trying to turn the conversation away from the damage the GOP has done to our national reputation. It’s not working so far. People aren’t feeling that much better about their economic circumstances, but they are aware that the rest of the country thinks something is wrong with our state—and that perception has been caused by Pat McCrory and the Republicans.

Yep, and no matter how vehemently Republican leaders try to blame Democrats (or the Liberal media, or activist corporations, or sports franchises), the responsibility inevitably is placed on those in charge. That's how politics works: When bad shit happens, incumbents better update their resumes.

More research on habitat loss from wood pellet industry

Stronger regulation is desperately needed:

The region was recently designated a global biodiversity hot spot, and according to one of the papers, the use of biomass for energy hinges on its sustainability. Minimizing overall loss of forests and biodiversity and maximizing the area of habitat have been suggested as criteria for sustainable bio-energy production.

“Results from the scenarios we examined suggest that simultaneously achieving the best outcomes for these sustainability criteria under a single biomass production future may not be possible,” according to the report. However, there may be a middle ground. To avoid the negative effects on critical habitats, restrictions on biomass harvesting in longleaf pine and bottomland hardwoods will be necessary.

Bolding mine. As is very often the case with studies emerging from NCSU, the agriculture industry is given the benefit of the doubt on sustainability initiatives. In this case, researchers assume they're going to re-plant new forests wherever they harvest, so there won't be a "net loss" of forestland. I disagree, vehemently. There is little evidence of that, on a large-scale, anyway. With that understanding, those words "will be necessary" above carry even more weight. Enviva needs to leave those longleaf pines and bottomland hardwoods alone. But since they've already developed a taste for those precious trees, the only way to stop them is to make it illegal. And as for their claims of sustainable operations:

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