scharrison's blog

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

Rural healthcare crisis: NC loses another maternity ward

It's long past time for the state to step in:

The Quorum Health hospital announced in a press release earlier this month that it was discontinuing labor and delivery services effective Oct. 21 “to better meet the community’s long-term needs.” With birth centers at three Vidant facilities in a 35-mile radius — in Washington, Tarboro and Greenville — the hospital said, pregnant women in the region still have options.

An EMT by training, Bullock said it wasn’t that simple. Every minute matters in labor, she said, and longer trips to a hospital could pose risks to mothers and their babies. “Anything can happen in 35 minutes,” she added. “I mean, anything can happen in five minutes. It’s just like a blink of an eye and you can lose both lives.”

To say this is unsettling would be an understatement. There are already huge geographic gaps in maternity care in Rural NC, and economics has played a major role in that deterioration. There are 100 counties in our state, with only 80 maternity wards to serve them. And 50 of those wards are located in urban centers (mostly I-40/85 Corridor):

Opposition to the MVP Southgate pipeline is growing

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And that includes NC DEQ, which is refreshing:

“At this time the department remains unconvinced that the project satisfies the criteria for the commission to deem it in the public interest, and whether it is essential to ensure future growth and prosperity for North Carolinians,” Sheila Holman, assistant secretary for the environment at the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Without demonstrated demand, the pipeline would just give Dominion Energy, formerly PSNC, an exclusive excess capacity, the DEQ writes. The proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate would be a 72-mile line connecting to the existing MVP in Pittsylvania County, Va., to carry Marcellus Shale gas to the distribution system south of Graham.

This project hasn't received a fraction of the statewide news coverage of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but here in Alamance County, it's stirred up a lot of controversy. The company has already sued 5 (if not more) landowners who refused to allow surveyors onto their property, and now the City of Burlington is rolling up its sleeves to fight due to the threat to a major drinking water reservoir:

Drought or Deluge: Climate Change abhors moderation

Over half of NC's counties are drying up as I type:

Klaus Albertin is chairman of the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council . He said in a news release issued by the Department of Environmental Quality on Thursday that water supplies, agriculture, fire threat and streamflows statewide are beginning to reflect the lack of precipitation.

Forty-five counties in the western and central parts of the state are in moderate drought stage, the least detrimental of four categories used in federal drought maps. Twenty-two counties are experiencing abnormally dry conditions, which means a drought could emerge without adequate rainfall. Albertin says while Hurricane Dorian left heavy rainfall along the coast, almost none fell west of Interstate 95. He says conditions could worsen before they improve.

As I was trying to go to sleep last night, I tried to remember the last time it had rained where I live. It's been long enough that I couldn't remember not just the exact date, but how many weeks it's been. That is not good. For several reasons, but the fact we're still in the hurricane season window is a big one. When the ground gets baked dry, rainfall doesn't infiltrate the soil very well, or quickly enough. So it runs off, and flash flooding is much more likely. And as our Western counties continue to dry out, wildfires can be expected. Plainly put, we need some rain, folks. Start dancing.

Bigots R Us: Dan forest to join American Renewal Project crazies

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When hate is the only language you speak:

A national Islamic group is calling on North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest to cancel his appearance next week at a Charlotte event the group says features “Islamophobic” speakers. Forest, a Republican, is scheduled to appear at the event sponsored by the American Renewal Project on Oct. 3 and 4. The event is billed as “a complimentary private gathering of NC church and ministry leaders.”

In addition to Forest, speakers include William Federer and E.W. Jackson. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Federer an “anti-Muslim activist.” Last year The Hill newspaper said Jackson spoke about the arrival of new Muslim members of Congress. “The floor of Congress is now going to look like an Islamic republic,” he said. “We are a Judeo-Christian country.”

This is just one (of countless) reasons why Dan Forest is not fit to be Governor of the State of North Carolina. These guys aren't just run-of-the-mill bigots; they're way out on the extreme fringe, evoking fear of Sharia law and whatever else they can think of to go after folks in Muslim communities. (Author's note: The Q'uran incorporates both Hebrew and Christian tenets into its fabric--Ibrahim is Abraham.) But while Federer is almost exclusively anti-Muslim, E.W. Jackson is fiercely anti-LGBTQ, and has claimed Pete Buttigieg wants to turn America into a "Homocracy," whatever the hell that means:

3 Stooges blabber on about Impeachment inquiry

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They're not the sharpest tools in the shed:

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th, said she was disappointed with Pelosi’s announcement of an impeachment inquiry into Trump. The 5th District includes Forsyth County and much of Northwest North Carolina.

“I cannot say I’m at all surprised,” Foxx said. “Obsession over the 2016 election results has consumed the Democratic Party and dominated (its) agenda as the House majority."

This phone call happened in Summer of 2019. And one of the reasons why Trump still thinks it's "okay" to use foreign governments to help him win elections is because people like you have done absolutely nothing to dissuade him or reign him in. In fact, you've actively opposed any investigations into what actually happened back in 2016, which proves you know what he did was wrong. Here's another idiot:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Technology in the hands of an unscrupulous man quickly becomes dangerous:

Every map in which he was involved needs to be taken to court, pronto.

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