Pisgah-Nantahala forests at risk of wholesale logging

And once again, SELC is coming to the rescue:

In what conservation groups flag as a dramatic shift, the U.S. Forest Service is proposing industrial-scale logging in the vast majority of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina – about 700,000 acres, or an area bigger than the Great Smoky Mountain National Park – instead of protecting popular backcountry recreation destinations and conserving the Blue Ridge landscapes treasured by residents and tourists from across the United States.

“Under the law and for everyone who enjoys America’s forests, the Forest Service’s first priority should be fixing the mistakes of the past – restoring the parts of the forest already damaged by prior logging,” said DJ Gerken, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “But the misguided logging plan proposed by the agency will repeat those old mistakes, causing more damage and putting the healthiest forests we have left on the chopping block. The people who use and love these forests won’t stand for cutting them down.”

:( We need to put a stop to this plan, like pronto. There are sustainable methods for harvesting trees from forests such as these, but logging companies left to their own devices simply can't be relied upon to use those methods.

New report highlights progress for NC river, calls for more success stories

New report highlights progress for North Fork First Broad River, calls for more success stories

Raleigh, NC.-On the eve of the close of the public comment period for the new Clean Water Rule, a new report tells the story of how the bedrock environmental law has helped to restore and protect the North Fork First Broad River from development and pollution.

Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center, along with small businesses, released Waterways Restored, a series of case studies highlighting the success of the Clean Water Act in protecting places like the North Fork First Broad River, and calling for a new rule to restore protections for more than 135,000 miles of the state’s rivers and streams.

The Bergermeister's campaign money problem

It looks like pay-to-play politics is back in style, with a vengeance:

State Senate leader Phil Berger raised nearly $2 million through the third quarter of the year, according to his campaign finance report.

Below are the top individual and PAC donors with listed "election sum to date" contributions.There is a caveat. Every sum listed below exceeds the state's $5,000 contribution limit. There are a lot of them, 42 individual contributors alone.

Bless his heart, Doug doesn't believe Berger's campaign received all that money, that it was a calculation error. There's been some calculating, alright, but it's more along the lines of, "If we get caught, we'll just claim ignorance and 'give' the money back."

Daily dose

POLICY & POLITICS
GOP deal cut? Moore next speaker, Hagar to be majority leader (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Republican members of the N.C. House will pick the chamber’s next speaker Nov. 22. This Saturday, candidates for the leadership post will make their case in Raleigh, as GOP House members congregate to discuss their “plan of organization,” according to several lawmakers and party insiders. Sources familiar with the selection process said this week that several names have risen to the top as possible candidates for House speaker. Tim Moore of Cleveland County is one of the frontrunners and Mike Hager of Rutherford may be the chamber’s next majority leader, they say. A deal has been struck that would allow Moore to be the speaker and Hager to be the majority leader, one source said. However, another source said that it is not a done deal and that there could be as many as three rounds of voting, as there are several strong candidates.
http://www.journalnow.com/news/state_region/gop-to-meet-to-decide-on-next-house-speaker-majority/art...

Coal Ash Wednesday: SELC doing the jobs of ineffective regulators

Begging the question: What are we paying those regulators for?

Following lawsuits by SELC, two of the three utilities in the Carolinas -- South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper -- are removing coal ash from unlined pits near rivers to dry, lined storage facilities away from rivers and lakes. SELC is currently representing dozens of groups in 10 state and federal lawsuits to address 14 leaking coal ash sites maintained by Duke Energy throughout North Carolina.

For decades, the EPA has developed and issued guidelines to individual states on how to comply with Federal statutes on clean air and water, because the enforcement "arm" of this system relies on state environmental agencies. But due to mostly Republican oversight of these state operations, that part of the job is not getting done. The bottom line is, SELC isn't engaging in "activism" or some other hot-button term, they are stepping into an empty space where a state government regulator should be standing, and yet Republican leaders in the General Assembly would have us blame them for "meddling." Business as usual for the GOP, break something and then blame those who try to fix it.

Daily dose

POLICY & POLITICS
Legislature's longtime administrator retires (AP) -- The man who made sure the paper towel dispensers were filled, bills printed and top research staff hired at the North Carolina legislature for more than 30 years has retired. Legislative Services Director George Hall stepped down Nov. 1, wrapping up a half-century of service in state government. House speakers and Senate leaders from both parties came and went, but Hall worked quietly behind the scenes since the late 1970s to ensure the legislative complex in downtown Raleigh ran properly and largely without controversy. “George has been the manager of the whole place for as long as I could remember,” said former House Speaker Joe Hackney, D-Orange, who served in the legislature from 1981 through 2012. “He was just an excellent, excellent contributor to the legislative enterprise.”
https://www.rockymounttelegram.com/news/ncwire/legislature8217s-longtime-administrator-retires-2707379

NCDP ShamerGate Takes Hilarious Turn

We were among those who had a family member receive the shaming mailers from the North Carolina Democratic Party and the Sierra Club. Five mailers (scans linked at the end of the post) were received in five days all sent to my oldest daughter who only became eligible to vote in 2011. At first I was livid on her behalf. We do not live in a municipality, so do not vote in odd years. Fortunately, the requirements of our GOTV campaign kept me so busy that there was no time for the anger to fester. Now, that fiasco has taken a turn for the hilarious.

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