NCGA

Coal Ash Wednesday: "But the bugs are doing just fine!"

The biological trump rule in action:

Aquatic insect communities in an area downstream from the Feb. 2 coal ash spill appear to be thriving, according to the results of testing conducted by state environmental officials.

Using a standard sampling protocol, state scientists collected samples of benthic macroinvertebrate at two locations – one upstream and one downstream of the site of Dan River spill. During the sampling, scientists collect insects and other invertebrates from the river using nets and then record the number and species present in their samples before returning the insects to the river. Scientists can determine much about the health of the river based on the number and type of living species they collect. The populations from the upstream and downstream sites were similar and were considered “Excellent,” which is the highest biological rating available.

This is good news, for one location out of a 70 mile stretch of river, that is. Some of that spilled coal ash is now buried under a few feet of silt, but some of it isn't. I won't go as far as to imply DENR testers located a healthy spot and tested that one, although that wouldn't surprise me. But one sample out of seventy miles doesn't a clean river make. Admittedly, I'm a little out of my depth here, but these folks aren't:

Is Tim Moore even more delusional than Tillis?

The Magic 8-Ball sez, "It's quite possible, yes."

"We have righted the ship and dealt with what I had considered to have been a hard left turn the state had taken in the years before the Republicans came to majority," Moore said. Issues such as abortion, voting rights, gun laws and same-sex marriage have largely been dealt with and are now off the legislative agenda, he said.

"What I think I'm hearing from the caucus and from the folks out there is they want to see us govern," Moore said. "They want to see the state move forward, show that the changes done can be implemented in an appropriate manner. They want to know that the state can be run like a business, that we can live within our means."

"Hard left turn?" You're kidding, right? If anything, the Dems running the state before the 2010 debacle were moderate to conservative in almost everything they did. Even "Progressive" ideas like the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard were contaminated with corporate giveaways like Construction Work In Progress (CWIP). And for those of you who have been pleased by McCrory's hints about expanding Medicaid, don't bake a cake yet:

Wos and Tucker clash over DHHS funding

Apparently it costs a lot to mismanage a state agency:

At the height of the exchange, Wos made an impassioned request for committee members to see that her funding requests have to be done, in part, “for the future of the state.”

“Don’t talk down to me,” Tucker said to Wos. “I’m responsible to the taxpayer to see if there’s any savings” in the requests. Wos, attempting a cool down, told Tucker “we will continue to give you whatever information you like. We will present our business case more accurately if this was not sufficient.”

The first step in securing "the future of the state" is for Wos to return to the only occupation she seems qualified to do, hosting dinner parties. That may not completely stop the drain on taxpayer resources, but at least they won't be sucked into the event horizon of the black hole that is Aldona Wos:

Living in Dukeville: The epitome of corporate irresponsibility

Just one more reason Duke Energy can't be trusted:

"It's bad to live in the United States and don't have good water to drink," said Ron, whose family farm sits just a couple hundred yards from the plant's three ponds housing more than 5 million tons of coal ash. "One neighbor is even bathing her young children in bottled water," JoAnne added, explaining that many in their community are worried about their drinking water.

"It's terrible," explained Dukeville resident Tyson Beaver. "We immediately switched from drinking well water and started buying bottled water to drink and to cook with and to wash dishes."

Water contamination is the main issue where fracking and coal ash converge, and what's happening in Dukeville will soon be happening in numerous other communities across the state. The Legislature needs to pass a bill (don't hold your breath) that will dictate whoever contaminates private drinking water wells must supply fresh water to replace the tainted water, at the expense of the entity who tainted the well. That's not radical, it's the bare minimum of what we expect from our elected officials.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Sanford stuck between clay and a hard place

This is one battle they've already lost:

“In the early 90s, Waste Management tried to put a landfill out at the same site that was just purchased by Chara,” Crumpton continued. “Then there was an attempt in 2006 where D H Griffin was trying to site a construction and demolition debris landfill out in the Cumnock area.” Chara is the landfill management company Duke Energy contracted to supervise and operate the coal ash storage sites in Lee and Chatham counties.

The difference between past attempts at putting landfills in Lee County and Duke’s plan to transfer coal ash from Mount Holly and Wilmington to the 410-acre site off Post Office Road is that, pending approval from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the plan to store coal ash in Lee County is a done deal.

Granted, taking advantage of an already-existing impermeable layer of clay for coal ash storage is smart, but communities should still be able to reject such projects if a majority of the citizens don't approve. Giving Duke Energy carte blanche to put that crap anywhere they want in the state is a recipe for disaster, because money (cost) will eventually be their only concern. That's how we got into this mess in the first place.

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