Flooding

NC's hair-raising dam safety issues not being addressed

When the levee breaks, I'll have no place to stay:

To help local and state official save lives in the event of a breach, the N.C. General Assembly included a provision in the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014 requiring some dam owners to file emergency actions plans (EAPs) with the state. The plans use modeling software to help decision makers understand where water will flow should the dam breach and when to warn or evacuate homeowners who, like Fraser, often don't know a dam is nearby.

Now, more than a year after those plans were required to be in place, 1,309 of the 2,011 dams that are supposed to have them don't. Only dams defined as high-hazard or intermediate-hazard potential -- designations based on the threat and property should the dam fail -- are required to have completed documents. In counties east of or contiguous to Interstate 95, 160 of the 217 dams supposed to have an EAP do not. The 73.7 percent lacking plans in eastern North Carolina is slightly outpacing the state's 60.6 percent.

Bolding mine. As is often the case when stories like this break, there's a handy expert standing by to tell us there's really nothing to worry about. And yet, not a rainy season goes by where several dams nationwide don't lose structural integrity and fail, and North Carolina has had its share. These emergency action plans do more than tell us what we should do in case of a failure, they help us figure out what other infrastructure needs we have by modeling the flow of flood waters in the event of a dam failure. And the fact we're still below 40% compliance is outrageous. A monumental failure to serve the people, that *will* result in the loss of life and property if not rectified.

Voices rising to extend voter registration deadline in light of Matthew damage

From the flooded trenches in Fayetteville:

Hunt says he's disappointed in the board for "choosing not to provide adequate relief to eligible voters" unable to register when Hurricane Matthew shut down local boards of elections and other registration sites. Registration deadline is today, but the board has told local officials to accept mailed-in registrations that arrive late. The board also notes that same-day registration is available at all early-voting sites, which will be open from Oct. 20 through Nov. 5.

At this point, it's not clear that all early-voting sites will be able to open by next Thursday. It's fortuitous that the courts struck down state voting reform legislation and that same-day registration is still an option. But it may not be enough in some of this state's hardest-hit communities.

No doubt the State Board is concerned local boards will have difficulty processing voter registrations while also preparing for early voting to begin. But that difficulty pales in comparison to the difficulties faced by those whose homes are (still) under water in much of Eastern North Carolina.

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