scharrison's blog

GenX concentration in Wilmington's water a lot worse than previously reported

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Sometimes breakthroughs in technology are depressing as hell:

According to a new analysis of preserved samples from 2014 to 2016, PFAS that contain an ether molecule were found at concentrations of at least as high as 130,000 parts per trillion near Lock and Dam No. 1, near the drinking water intake for the City of Wilmington. The contamination originated at the Chemours/DuPont facility more than 80 miles upstream.

The samples at Lock and Dam No. 1 were taken in 2015 by NC State and EPA researchers. But only now, with advanced technology, can scientists more accurately measure the concentrations of PFAS in water.

Don't be fooled by the short time range of the samples; those levels have likely been that high for decades:

Mark Johnson is in constant Campaign mode

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Abusing the office so he can stay in office:

"I purchase lots of bookmarks. I get free bookmarks from book companies," Burton said. "I don’t need any more bookmarks." But that wasn’t the only thing the Department of Public Instruction sent. Since last year, there have been flyers with Johnson’s picture on them designed to go home with students, posters to go in hallways where he’s posing in with two sheriffs, and emails. Lots and lots of emails.

"We’re getting constant emails from him – email blasts from him," Burton said. "And we never received all that information from Dr. Atkinson before."

It's like Johnson is trying to show his mom how far he can ride his bike with no hands. As if teachers might forget who he is if he doesn't remind them every single day:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Today is the big day for some municipalities:

If you haven't already voted, make sure you do so today. If you live in a municipality that is having its election in November (like me), early voting is just around the corner.

Pope Foundation a core element of Climate Change denialism network

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A network that is coordinated and very well-funded:

According to Brulle's research, the 91 think tanks and advocacy organizations and trade associations that make up the American climate denial industry pull down just shy of a billion dollars each year, money used to lobby or sway public opinion on climate change and other issues.

“The anti-climate effort has been largely underwritten by conservative billionaires,” says the Guardian, “often working through secretive funding networks. They have displaced corporations as the prime supporters of 91 think tanks, advocacy groups and industry associations which have worked to block action on climate change.”

We've talked a lot here at BlueNC about the propaganda written by Civitas and JLF, and the amount of direct influence Art Pope has exerted on Republican lawmakers here. But those things are visible and often "in-your-face." The function of the Pope Foundation as part of a much broader scheme to undermine science is not so easily detected, unless you use science to detect the anti-science:

CoA ruling deals a blow to Debtor's Prison effect

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A reduction of excessive court costs is long overdue:

The Court of Appeals published a unanimous opinion this week holding that when multiple criminal charges arise from the same underlying event or transaction and are adjudicated together in the same hearing or trial, they are part of a single “criminal case” for purposes of assessing court costs.

The case stems from a Buncombe County incident – Dave Robert Rieger was pulled over for following another vehicle too closely and was ultimately arrested for possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana paraphernalia. He took his case to trial and was convicted of both charges. Because the state filed the charges against him in two separate charging documents, there were two separate judgments against him even though they were disposed of through the same trial. The judge imposed court costs in each of the two judgments, amounting to a total of nearly $800. The question to the three-judge appellate panel was whether Rieger experienced one criminal case or two.

At a recent local candidate event I was able to have a few words with a couple of judges and a District Attorney, and I mainly focused on court costs and high amounts of cash bail. Surprisingly enough, they were all concerned about this, and eager to talk about it (as opposed to ignoring it). We may be approaching a critical point in criminal justice reform, and it is much needed:

Remembering the victims of the NC GOP's refusal to expand Medicaid

Not just an academic exercise, people are dying:

North Carolina’s Medicaid coverage gap looks like Brenda Pernell, who went by “Miss Brenda” to her students and, until a heart condition killed her in April at the age of 52, treated her high blood pressure with vinegar.

It looks like Jessica Jordan, who inherited her father’s blue eyes and her mother’s fiery hair and who, lacking the coverage to pay for mental health and substance abuse treatment, died from an accidental overdose last May at the age of 32.

If these women had lived in Virginia (or even West Virginia), they would likely still be alive. If they had lived in Louisiana or Arkansas, they would have had a much better chance. Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, still alive. But they didn't. They had the misfortune of living in a state that placed partisan politics above the value of their lives, health, and prosperity. And there are thousands more right behind them, facing deteriorating physical and economic health:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Go get 'em, Avner

Duke professor to address EPA over coal ash deregulation:

Nearly six years after a busted drainage pipe at a Duke Energy coal ash containment pond turned the Dan River into an oily sludge, the Trump administration is considering a move to roll back some of the Obama-era rules that ban the disposal of coal ash in soil or pits and landfills that aren't lined to protect the environment.

At his Duke University lab, ABC11 caught up with the geochemistry professor headed to the EPA hearing about the issue scheduled for Wednesday morning. Avner Vengosh told ABC11 he's going in hopes of convincing the agency to keep the protections in place. "My coming to EPA is to bring the science," said Vengosh. "Demonstrating that putting coal ash without restrictions is a really bad idea."

Professor Vengosh and his graduate students at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment have done groundbreaking work on contaminants that threaten water quality. They're the ones who (finally) proved the Methane contamination of drinking water wells actually originated from the shale being fracked miles below, by looking at the isotopic signature. So we should all be inclined to pay attention to them on this as well:

Tuesday News: King Rat

ROBIN HAYES SET TO THROW CO-CONSPIRATORS UNDER THE BUS: Under a deal with federal prosecutors, North Carolina’s former state Republican chairman could testify against other defendants in the state’s largest-ever case of political bribery. Robin Hayes would plead guilty to a single felony count of lying to the FBI under the deal. He’s scheduled to formally enter his guilty plea in federal court Wednesday. The plea agreement calls for Hayes to cooperate with prosecutors. That includes testifying against his co-defendants. Hayes, a former member of Congress, was one of four men indicted last March on multiple charges of conspiracy and bribery. Also indicted were Durham businessman Greg Lindberg — one of the GOP’s biggest campaign contributors — and two associates, John Gray and John Palermo. All four pleaded not guilty at the time.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article235624037.html

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