Coal Ash Wednesday: Time to pay the Polluting Piper

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Duke Energy seeks hundreds of millions in increased rates to clean up their own mess:

The Company is requesting recovery of ash basin closure compliance costs incurred since January 1, 2015, in the approximate amount of $66 million per year for five years; as well as recovery of ongoing ash basin closure compliance spending in the amount of $129 million per year, with any difference from future spending being deferred until a future base rate case. Recovery of ongoing costs will mitigate the need for future rate increases for compliance costs associated with coal ash basin closure.

This rate increase is further necessary to enable DE Progress to maintain its current financial position in light of those significant capital expenditures undertaken to meet its customers' needs.

Bolding mine, because it takes a special kind of hubris to demand your "financial position" not be jeopardized, regardless of how irresponsible your business practices have been. If this was anybody but Duke Energy or some other fossil fuel giant, the Free Marketers at JLF and Civitas would be having a whole mess of kittens over the idea of such a monopoly, much less the government helping them stay profitable.

Wednesday News: Reckless abandon

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LAW ENFORCEMENT REJECTS PERMITLESS CONCEALED-CARRY EFFORT: With the state House poised to debate legislation Wednesday ending the requirement that people obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon in North Carolina, law enforcement agencies around the state are lining up in opposition to the measure. House Bill 746 would allow any U.S. citizen 18 or over who legally owns a gun to carry it concealed without a permit anywhere he or she can carry it openly, except where prohibited. Concealed carry permits are issued through a county sheriff's office, which conducts a criminal background check and looks for records of mental illness or incapacity. Applicants must also be at least 21 years old and must show they have passed an eight-hour gun safety class. "They're getting some training. They're getting some knowledge of the law. But just to say, 'You're 18 years old, take a gun and go,' that bothers me," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Tuesday.
http://www.wral.com/law-enforcement-opposes-proposal-to-relax-concealed-gun-rules/16746405/

Tuesday News: Punish the leaker, not the perpetrator

TRUMP'S JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ARRESTS CONTRACTOR WHO LEAKED RUSSIAN HACKING DOCUMENT: An intelligence contractor was charged with sending a classified report about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election to the news media, the Justice Department announced Monday, the first criminal leak case under President Donald Trump. The case showed the department’s willingness to crack down on leaks, as Trump has called for in complaining that they are undermining his administration. His grievances have contributed to a sometimes tense relationship with the intelligence agencies he oversees. The Justice Department announced the case against the contractor, Reality Leigh Winner, 25, about an hour after the national-security news outlet The Intercept published the apparent document, a May 5 intelligence report from the National Security Agency.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article154527754.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

In case you were wondering what law enforcement thinks:

The General Assembly needs to pay close attention:

The fine line between a Christian "church" and a cult

Resorting to physical violence is one big indicator the line's been crossed:

A North Carolina man thought he was "going to die" when members of his evangelical church beat and choked him for two hours to expel his "homosexual demons," he testified Thursday.

Matthew Fenner was the first person to take the stand in the assault and kidnapping trial of Brooke Covington, a 58-year-old minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina. Fenner, 23, said Covington was the leader in a 2013 beating involving numerous congregants. He said Covington pointed out his sexual orientation, saying, "God said there is something wrong in your life."

This is pretty horrific, but what's even more horrible is the fact the harshest punishment that might be brought in this court case is two years in prison. That's *if* she's convicted on the two counts (kidnapping and assault) she's charged with. And if it wasn't for the diligence of the Associated Press, nothing would have happened:

263,400 reasons Tillis signed onto letter to pull out of Paris Agreement

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A wholly-owned subsidiary of the oil & gas industry:

So if the U.S. walks away from the agreement, what sort of standard does that set for all of the other countries who signed on? Will they take Trump's lead and withdraw from the pact, as well?

North Carolina Republican senator Thom Tillis doesn't seem too concerned. He was among twenty-two Republican senators who last week signed a letter urging Trump to scrap the deal, according to the Guardian. He was also the beneficiary of $263,400 in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies since 2012, according to the same report.

It sure didn't take long for Tillis to jump on the gravy train. And we can expect a lot more sellouts between now and 2020, so he can lock in all that "independent spending" from mystery men who have become reliant on the Senate Corporation, LLC. But I'd like to be a fly on the wall when he explains to his two children why he signed this letter. He won't really suffer much from climate change, but they will.

Monday News: One-Term Pat

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MCCRORY TAKES JABS AT COOPER, WHINES ABOUT VOTER ID ABSENCE: McCrory, a Republican who lost to Cooper last November, had strong words for his successor on Hurricane Matthew relief efforts and on the lawsuits between the governor and legislature. “Shame on Gov. Cooper for trying to blame President Trump” for the government’s slow response to Hurricane Matthew funding, McCrory said. “Don’t blame someone else for the lack of leadership.” The former governor also had advice for the legislature. Republican House and Senate leaders were in the crowd at the NCGOP convention. “I know for a fact that we had a lot of noncitizens that were voting,” McCrory said. “Ladies and gentlemen, voter ID would have stopped it. Keep it a clean bill, stay with a voter ID law and get that passed.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article154239819.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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LEGISLATURE'S BUDGET: MORE COMFORT FOR THE COMFORTABLE: Want to know what the priorities and motives are for the leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly? The budgets produced by the state House and Senate provide a clear view. The themes are consistent in both documents -- those who already have the most, get even more. And those with the greatest need are considered freeloaders who refuse to work and want to bilk state government to finance their indolence. So what if we prevent 500,000 people from getting health insurance? They could get a job if they just tried – particularly the elderly and children. How responsible is it to continue to spend millions on private school vouchers when there is practically no accountability or transparency in where the money goes nor how the students perform academically? Not to mention that some of the schools discriminate on admissions.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-legislature-s-budget-more-comfort-for-the-comfortable/16735398/

The General Assembly's latest Jordan Lake boondoggle: Algaecide

Because what could possibly go wrong dumping dangerous chemicals into the drinking water?

A year after state environmental regulators called the SolarBees experiment a failure, state lawmakers are trying another unproven method to control pollution in Jordan Lake.

The $22.9 billion budget that the House approved early Friday includes a $1.3 million provision requiring the Department of Environmental Quality to use chemicals that either kill algae or bind with phosphorus, which algae feeds on. The technique is usually used in ponds and small lakes, not in a body of water as large as Jordan Lake.

This marks the ninth year since the Jordan Lake Rules were developed by state water quality specialists and approved by the EPA, and it also marks nine years of whining, plotting, and the embracing of pseudo-science in order to avoid implementation of those rules. And of course, since Crisis = Opportunity, revolving-door Republicans are also lining their pockets over this institutional aversion to responsible governing:

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