scharrison's blog

Judges throw out Virginia ACP permit in African-American community

Environmental Justice, finally:

A panel of federal judges has thrown out the permit for a natural gas pumping station in the historic African American community of Union Hill in Buckingham County, saying state regulators failed to consider whether the facility would disproportionately affect a vulnerable population. The ruling is another setback for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a controversial 600-mile, $7.5 billion project being led by Dominion Energy.

Issued Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, the decision faulted Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board for an action that it said was “arbitrary, capricious, and unsupported by substantial evidence in the record.”

The folks in Union Hill were featured in a recent Friday fracking video, and we should all applaud this decision. Things haven't changed much since the Industrial Revolution began shifting dangerous, noisy, and pollutive facilities into communities of color, and they've gone from one form of bondage to another. Hat-tip to the Southern Environmental Law Center for attempting to change that dynamic:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Joining the ranks of the chickenhawks:

Aside from the fact Trump didn't notify/confer with the Gang of Eight in Congress before doing this, which should have both houses up in arms, he put thousands of our military folks in the region in danger wagging this particular dog. Tillis should be calling for restraint, not cheerleading.

Head in the tar sands: Trump's rollback of Climate Change rules

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Eroding decades of science-driven caution:

Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, said eliminating the need to consider climate change would lead to more pipelines and other projects that worsen global emissions. It could also put roads, bridges and other infrastructure at greater risk, he said, because developers would not be required, for instance, to analyze whether sea-level rise threatened to eventually submerge a project.

“It has the potential to distort infrastructure planning by making it easier to ignore predictable futures that could severely degrade the projects,” Mr. Gerrard said.

We definitely cannot survive another four years of this jackass. And you better believe the industries that are the worst polluters will be throwing scads of money into his re-election campaign, because they've never had it so good. Previous administrations (even GOP) pale in comparison with how responsive Trump has been putting communities at risk for corporate profits, and the fossil fuel industry leads that charge:

The United Methodist Church is getting a divorce

A "Traditionalist" faction is breaking away over LGBTQ issues:

The plan would sunder a denomination with 13 million members globally — roughly half of them in the United States — and create at least one new “traditionalist Methodist” denomination that would continue to ban same-sex marriage as well as the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.

It seems likely that the majority of the denomination’s churches in the United States would remain in the existing United Methodist Church, which would become a more liberal-leaning institution as conservative congregations worldwide depart.

This was inevitable after hard-liners recently voted to ban gay ministers and same-sex marriage. As an outsider looking in I'm hesitant to pass judgment, because I know several Progressives in the church that were hoping to eventually change it across the board from within. But life is too short to put up with such prejudice, and LGBTQ folks deserve to take part without being subjected to controversy.

Durham project residents speak out about carbon monoxide and rats

67 year-old buildings need serious maintenance:

In a tense meeting, residents of McDougald Terrace aired their concerns and frustrations to the Durham Housing Authority on Thursday.

Angry residents also pressed officials about the deaths of two babies at McDougald Terrace -- one child died Nov. 20; the other on Dec. 8. Durham's Assistant EMS Chief Lee Van Vleet told them that until autopsy reports come back, they cannot rule out the possibility the babies were poisoned by carbon monoxide.

Durham voters just approved a $95 Million affordable housing bond, so there's no reason why this particular project should be penny-pinched. What's the point in building new structures if you can't maintain the ones you've got? I know all the arguments about old structures vs. newer ones, I actually supervised several "troop self help" construction teams that renovated old WWII barracks on Ft. Bragg and turned them into office spaces. McDougald has 360 (brick) apartment units that could theoretically last another 70 years with the right investments, but the City seems to have forgotten it exists:

SELC achieves record settlement on excavating coal ash

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The entire state owes them a debt of gratitude:

In a historic settlement SELC reached with Duke Energy and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality today, approximately 80 million tons of toxic coal ash at six Duke Energy coal ash sites are now slated for excavation.

Prior settlements and court orders required cleanups and excavation of 46 million tons of the toxic coal ash at eight other Duke Energy sites in North Carolina, and now the utility’s sites at its Allen, Belews Creek, Cliffside, Marshall, Mayo, and Roxboro facilities will be added to that list.

This is fantastic news, but we need to be cognizant of the next shoe that will drop: Rate increases associated with said cleanup. I'm not really speculating with this, Duke Energy is highly predictable, and will likely be pushing for another double-digit increase very soon. We will be watching.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

My sentiments exactly:

Meadows uses sleight-of-hand to choose his successor

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But it's par for the course for this dude:

Later that day came a campaign launch by Lynda Bennett, a local GOP activist and real estate agent who is friendly with Debbie Meadows, the congressman's wife, according to sources who know both women. Wary Republicans in the state quickly speculated that she had advance notice of Meadows' retirement.

Online records revealed her campaign website domain had been registered on Oct. 28 by a Scott Meadows, who appears to be the brother of the congressman. The campaign's Facebook page was created on Dec. 18, a day before the retirement. And shortly after midnight on Dec. 19 — about five hours before Meadows announced — Bennett posted photos of herself with the congressman and his wife at local GOP events in the state.

You know what? All those Republicans who feel shafted by Mark Meadows' little stunt can go suck on a lemon. He's been pulling backhanded crap like this since he was first elected, bullying other Representatives and golden-parachuting a sexual harasser. The NC GOP should have already had a viable candidate ready and willing to oppose that bad behavior in a Primary, but now you've got his choice to fill that seat. I was going to say something about "learning from your mistakes," but that doesn't seem to happen very often within the GOP ranks.

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