Coal Ash Wednesday: arrested legislative development

Making a mess of cleaning up a mess:

“The Senate bill was weak to begin with,” said Kemp Burdette, Riverkeeper with Cape Fear River Watch, “it got even weaker in the House.” The legislation, he said, still does not spell out how DENR and the new coal ash commission should evaluate the sites.

Burdette toured the ash ponds at Duke’s Chatham County plant at the other end of the Cape Fear River on Friday and said the ponds should have been on the high priority list from the outset. The site did make the list briefly, after a coalition of Democrats and Sandhills Republicans won a vote on an amendment to add it to the priority list. The win was later overturned after House leaders intervened. Burdette said given what he saw on Friday, taking the Cape Fear ponds off the list seemed wrong.

“It looks pretty bad,” he said. “There are multiple seeps. The ponds are leaking. All five of [the ponds’ dams] are ranked as high hazard and they are arguably the most dangerous in the state.”

Common sense and science don't stand a chance when politics intervenes.

The damage is already done

Despite the recent frenzy of budget negotiations around teacher pay, Republicans cannot recover from the damage they've done to public education in North Carolina. A quick story from my sister-in-law, who is in the process of moving to Brunswick County, tells the tale.

After spending all of their lives in Newport News, Virginia, she and my brother found a home near Wilmington, with a move-in date of August 1. Last week, they toured their new development to inspect the house and check-out the neighbors. They visited the fitness center, where they met another retiree, a school teacher. It didn't take long for the conversation to turn to family.

"I'm hoping my daughter will want to move down here, too," said my sister-in-law. "She's a public school teacher in Virginia."

Tagged:

Daily Dose

THE SPILL
NC raising water standards; critics say not enough (AP) — After years of delays, North Carolina regulators are moving to strengthen state water-quality standards to include tougher limits on toxic metals like those at issue following the recent coal ash spill into the Dan River.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-raising-water-standards-critics-sa...

EPA says Dan River back to pre-coal ash spill quality (Danville Register Bee) -- Water quality in the Dan River has returned to “normal,” according to Myles Bartos of the Environmental Protection Agency.
http://www.godanriver.com/news/coal-ash/epa-says-dan-river-back-to-pre-c...

CAMPAIGN 2014
UPSET! Walker beats Berger Jr. in bitter race for GOP nod (AP) — A harsh Republican Party fight for a shot at an open North Carolina congressional seat goes to Mark Walker.

Tagged:

Juniorberger loses

Phil Berger Senior's name and coattails just weren't enough.

A harsh Republican Party fight for a shot at an open North Carolina congressional seat goes to Mark Walker.

His opponent, Phil Berger Jr., has conceded the primary race, stating: "It is important we unify as a party behind the Republican candidate. ... We must unify, we must come together" to retain Howard Coble's seat.

At least he's consistent -- consistently wrong.

Walker is just as much of a nut job as Juniorberger.

Please join me in sending some sincere best wishes to Laura Fjeld. Those best wishes are most effective when accompanied by a check. Let's all get behind Laura!

Rep. Renee Ellmers tells men to talk down to women so we can understand

That headline is not from The Onion. In her remarks to a group of conservative women who met last Friday to discuss the Republican response to the "war on women," Representative Renee Ellmers, NC-02, said that men need to bring things down to a woman's level so they don't risk turning us off with complicated data and charts.

The original article is here. A second is here with the full text of Elmer's comments and the audio.

Tone matters. How you speak to people matters.

Thom the bully threatens Dem caucus funding

Vengeful, iron-fisted Thom Tillis is at it again. The latest in his long string of dictatorial petty punishments is to cut off funding for the NCGA's Democratic caucus.

House Democrats are accusing Republican Speaker Thom Tillis of abuse of power for refusing to release funds for caucus staff and using parliamentary maneuvers to cut off debate.

Minority Leader Larry Hall said Tuesday that Tillis "has decided to defund the House Democratic caucus."

Rep. Hall had the nerve to speak truth to power about the unconstitutional new legislative building rules intended to squelch Moral Monday protests. Thom decided to mete out some punishment for that.

"I was told that, unless I apologized to the members of the Legislative Services Commission for objecting to the new rules, we would not be funded," [Hall] said.
...

Another Voter Integrity Project stunt goes awry

Eliciting another toddler-like temper tantrum from Jay DeLancy:

Early Monday morning July 14th Wake County Elections Director Cherie Poucher listened to a strange request on her voice mail. Jay DeLancy of the Voter Integrity Project wanted to use a county polling place today, Tuesday July 15th, run-off primary election day, for a photo-shoot with a number of masked people lined up attempting to vote as unidentified voters. DeLancy claimed he had cleared it with the precinct chief judge and wanted the Wake Board’s approval. The precinct chief judge in question is Denise Stetter who is also communications director for the Voter Integrity project. What they were conspiring to do would have been a violation of at least two North Carolina laws.

To put it in the quaint vernacular, "That boy ain't right." If all he really wanted was a photoshoot, he could have easily mocked-up a polling place, with a few tables and a few senior citizens sitting at them. But this is something more. Either he was planning for the masked men to intimidate voters, or he might have been angling to get that precinct in trouble with his "proof." Whatever the case, it doesn't have a damned thing to do with integrity, and neither does he:

American Bridge wants to hear from you

Brad Woodhouse, the enlightened better half of Busdriver Dallas, is leading up the charge at American Bridge. They sent me a link to their survey by email, which I'm passing along in case you're interested.

http://action.americanbridgepac.org/page/s/ab21-priorities-survey

Ward beats Brown in individual fundraising

We're gaining momentum! Below you can see an excerpt from our most-recent press release.

Raleigh, N.C. – Uriah Ward, Democratic Nominee for N.C. House in District 9, gains momentum in one of this year’s most highly-contested State House races. Earlier this year, Public Policy Polling released a poll citing this district as one of the top-five swing districts in the state. The poll put incumbent Republican Representative Brown at 43%, with newcomer Uriah Ward, the Democratic challenger, hot on his heels at 39%, while 18% of the vote was still undecided.

Both Brown and Ward submitted their most recent campaign finance reports last week. Ward more than tripled his fundraising over the previous quarter. While Representative Brown was busy raising funds from special interests, Ward raised more than Brown from individual contributors.

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