Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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BUDGET SHOULD MAKE NC BETTER, NOT BOOST PARTISANSHIP AND SETTLE SCORES: Sen. Brent Jackson’s impulsive scheme to spend $250 million and move the state Department of Health and Human Services (and the nearly 5,000 who work for the agency) from Raleigh to Granville County is crystal clear evidence of the arrogance of the Senate’s leadership. The propaganda operation in the Senate leader’s office has shifted into high gear. It has sifted out miniscule tidbits in the budget and inflated them into happy talk. Regardless the propaganda, the budget speaks for itself. It is about partisanship, ideological rigidity and revenge. It is not about a better North Carolina. We deserve better. 2020 can’t come soon enough.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-budget-should-make-n-c-better-not-boost-partisanship-and-settle-score...

Saturday News: A rare beast

COURT-ORDERED WAKE REDISTRICTING PLAN HAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT: A proposal redrawing state House districts in Wake County should be on the floor next week after clearing two committees on Thursday after little debate. State judges ordered new Wake lines by the end of June after ruling Republicans in 2017 impermissibly redrew four districts that hadn't been struck down in previous litigation. House Democratic and Republican leaders sponsored a new map identical to a third-party expert's recommendations to federal judges in late 2017. Currently Democrats hold all 11 Wake seats, and incumbents seeking re-election wouldn't be forced to run against each other under the proposal. This map would only be used next year, since decennial redistricting begins in 2021.
https://www.wral.com/a-rare-feat-bipartisan-support-on-nc-legislative-remap/18437596/

Peak Plastic: The inevitable collapse of the recycling system

Filling that blue barrel is not the good deed you think it is:

Within months, Malaysia, which has a sizable ethnic Chinese population, had replaced China as the world’s largest importer of plastic scrap. But this country, and others across the region, soon saw the waste as an environmental nightmare, and a heavy backlash has begun. With public support, some advocacy groups have urged officials to permanently ban the import of plastic waste.

But at a time when the world is awash in such plastic, some experts worry that this backlash could block the flow of raw material to Southeast Asia’s aboveboard recyclers and manufacturers — and raise the chances that plastic scrap will end up in rivers, oceans, dumps and illegal burn sites.

Just one more area in which the Free Market completely fails to provide sustainable solutions. There used to be hundreds of genuine recycling operations in the U.S. (actually turning the plastic into a reusable product), but there simply wasn't enough money in it. So we collect it, crush it together into handy blocks, and ship it off to some 3rd world country. What will they do with it? Don't care, out of sight, out of mind. But those of us concerned with air quality need to start paying close attention. With the difficulties in handling the volume of scrap plastics, co-generation facilities that burn them are becoming more popular, such as cement industry kilns:

Friday News: Speaking of fracking...

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JIM WOMACK LEADS LIST OF CONTENDERS TO REPLACE ROBIN HAYES: North Carolina Republicans are gathering for their annual convention and regrouping after some electoral setbacks, an absentee ballot probe and legal troubles for the outgoing state chairman. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the GOP convention beginning Friday in Concord. Delegates on Saturday will choose a successor to Robin Hayes as chairman. Hayes said he wouldn't seek re-election the day before being indicted on charges related to attempts to bribe the state's insurance commissioner on behalf of a wealthy donor. Announced candidates to succeed Hayes include Michael Whatley, Jim Womack and John Lewis. Republican majorities at the legislature are no longer veto-proof after November's elections. A new election also was ordered in the 9th Congressional District after investigations of a political operative working for then-GOP nominee Mark Harris.
https://www.wral.com/nc-republicans-look-to-regroup-pick-leader-at-convention/18437292/

NC Republicans lied in court to delay fixing their Gerrymandered maps

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Their skeletons are busting out of the closet:

The Republicans told the federal court hearing the map case that they would not be able to draw new legislative districts and hold public hearings on them in time for a proposed special election in late 2017 or early 2018. In fact, Common Cause said, Mr. Hofeller’s files show that almost all the work was already done: proposed new boundaries had been drawn for more than 97 percent of the state’s proposed Senate districts and 90 percent of House districts.

A senior Republican legislator who was involved in the redistricting, Representative David R. Lewis, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yeah, I bet he didn't. This also partly explains why the NC GOP has been pushing so hard to get those hard drives out of circulation:

Modified permit for Enviva exposes the sheer volume of NC trees that will be lost

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Clear-cutting our forests to service a boondoggle in Europe:

Enviva Pellets Hamlet, LLC and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Division of Air Quality (DAQ) on Monday reached a settlement with Clean Air Carolina (CAC) in which the wood pellet processing company agreed to a new round of measures to control emissions and to submit semi-annual output reports to CAC for review.

In January, Enviva modified its permit with the DAQ to allow it to increase its production of wood pellets from 537,625 oven-dried tons per year to 625,011 and to be reclassified as a minor source of pollution in exchange for adding new emission controls.

Bolding mine, because this method of calculation actually downplays the volume of trees this industry is consuming. In order to arrive at that "oven-dried" weight, several times that amount of green/wet wood is required. Enviva is clear-cutting some 50 acres of North Carolina forests every single day. Here's more from the Rachel Carlson Council:

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