Saturday News: Melting snowflakes

NC LEGISLATURE TO INSTALL AIRPORT-LIKE SECURITY CHECKPOINTS: After decades of open access, tighter security measures will be put in place at the Legislative Building next week. Metal detectors and X-ray machines will be installed at the entrances to the building, and the public will be screened before entry, Paul Coble, who oversees operations of the legislative complex, said in a news release Friday. "The Legislative Building for the General Assembly has always been the 'People’s Building,' and all members of the public, including daily school group tours, will continue to have access to their government and the legislative process," Coble wrote in the release. "Our goal is to make the building safe for all who have business with the General Assembly, as well as for the members, staff, press and citizens of the State of North Carolina."
http://www.wral.com/security-lines-coming-to-legislative-building/17469289/

Misleading and disingenuous: Smithfield's lawyers push the boundaries in hog nuisance lawsuit

And NC State (knowingly or not) is complicit in the deception:

Anderson, representing Smithfield, had attempted to liken Kinlaw’s waste management system — flushing the barns with wastewater and emptying the manure and urine into open lagoons to be sprayed hundreds of feet in the air onto fields — to that at a research farm operated by NC State University off Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh. Just three miles from the courthouse, Anderson argued, and yet people in downtown smelled nothing.

However, Rogers had visited that research farm as well, and conducted studies there. The only similarity is that both facilities are farms. The NC State faciliy has 1,000 hogs; Kinlaw has nearly 15,000. The NCSU farm uses clean water to flush the barns, sharply reducing the odors. The university farm, unlike Kinlaw, also removes solid particles that go into the lagoon, also reducing the odor, and has a different treatment system. “It’s not a fair comparison,” Rogers said.

Of course it's not a fair comparison. It's like apples and orange Crayons, only eating the Crayons probably wouldn't ruin your life or tank your property values. And while I realize this is civil court, where there's more leeway for rhetorical ad-hominem attacks, this particular dog-whistle should have been snatched out of their hands by the judge:

Friday News: Taken

charterpirates.jpg

THE FIRST PUBLIC SCHOOL FALLS VICTIM TO INVOLUNTARY TAKEOVER BY CHARTER OPERATORS: A politically connected company with a limited track record has been chosen to take over a low-performing North Carolina elementary school. The State Board of Education voted 7-4 on Thursday to hire Charlotte-based Achievement For All Children to manage Southside Ashpole Elementary School in Robeson County. Achievement For All Children is heavily connected to Oregon resident John Bryan, a generous contributor to political campaigns and school-choice causes in North Carolina. He has taken credit for passage of the law creating the Innovative School District. SchoolWorks rated AAC as meeting expectations in four of 11 areas. The other company vying for the contract, the Michigan-based Romine Group, was rated as meeting expectations in two areas.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article208006534.html

UNC Wilmington solves mystery of GenX in rainfall

genxwilmington.jpg

Add a little water and presto, you get a toxic downpour:

UNCW also tested rainwater samples to determine if GenX showed up there. When it did, they alerted the state and then tried to figure out where it was coming from. Ultimately, they determined that while GenX itself isn’t being spread through the air, a chemical that rapidly turns into GenX when mixed with water likely is coming from Chemours’ stacks.

Pam Seaton, the chair of UNCW’s department of chemistry and biochemistry, said, “The precusor to GenX at Chemours is what’s called an acid fluoride, and when it touches water it turns into GenX. What they emit, apparently, through the stacks at Chemours is the acid fluoride. ... We could actually see within minutes the precursor being converted to GenX, which then is wherever the rain takes it.”

I'd be willing to bet my last dollar that Chemours' chemists were well aware something like this would happen to those emissions, and I would also bet that installing some form of scrubbers could greatly reduce that effect. But that costs money, and you know what that means. Unless they are forced to install it, it ain't happening. GenX is also embedding itself into river bottom sediment, which means it will be seeping into the water for a long time even after all discharges have stopped:

Thursday News: All about the Benjamins

cooperfrown.jpg

GOVERNOR COOPER BATTLES GOP LEGISLATURE OVER CONTROL OF FUNDS: Legal teams for Gov. Roy Cooper and his Republican foils in the General Assembly were back in court Wednesday, arguing over money. They disagree over which branch of government ultimately controls certain types of spending, and Superior Court Judge Henry Hight heard arguments about federal block grants and the millions set to flow from the Volkswagen settlement fund, which was created to end lawsuits tied to the car company's faulty vehicle emissions figures. Hight said he would rule on those two issues, which account for $183 million in a much broader legal dispute, as soon as Friday. The Cooper administration argues that it can direct this spending within certain limits.
http://www.wral.com/cooper-republicans-spar-over-control-of-millions/17463931/

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke Energy's self-regulating "research" is flawed

coalash.jpg

Extracted from the 2017 4th quarter Executive Summary of the Allen Steam Station:

An update to the 2016 human health and ecological risk assessment was conducted. There is no evidence of unacceptable risk to humans and wildlife at Allen attributed to CCR constituent migration in groundwater from the ash basins. The only evidence of potential unacceptable human related risks estimated in the 2016 risk assessment was under the hypothetical subsistence fisherman scenario due to concentrations of cobalt in fish tissue. This risk assessment update supports that the fisher risks were overestimated based on conservative exposure (it is unlikely subsistence fishermen exist in the area) and modeled fish tissue uptake assumptions (modeled concentrations likely exceed actual fish tissue concentrations if measured), supporting a risk classification of “Low” based upon groundwater related considerations.

This is not research, it's rhetoric, carefully crafted to leave the reader confident there's nothing to worry about. The "cobalt in fish" thing is simply a red herring, if you'll pardon my use of a salt water species to drive home a point. If they reported they'd found nothing at all, people wouldn't believe them. So we get cobalt in fish, that nobody's going to eat anyway. Just an aside: Cobalt concentrations detected in at least three common species have been proven to reduce appetite, subsequently stunting growth in the fish affected. The truth is, there are several other toxins even worse than cobalt leaking from the Allen plant:

Wednesday News: Three cheers for Josh

joshstein.jpg

NC AG JOINS LAWSUIT TO BLOCK CENSUS QUESTIONS ABOUT IMMIGRANT STATUS: North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has joined an effort to block the Trump administration from adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. In a multi-state move, 12 attorneys general filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday alleging that demanding such information could skew actual resident numbers in states with large immigrant populations. That could threaten the fair allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars of federal grants and funding for education, roads and infrastructure, Stein and the other attorneys general stated. Additionally, census data are used to redraw political boundaries — from Congress to local school boards and commissions and allocate Electoral College seats.
http://www.newsobserver.com/latest-news/article207794039.html

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed