NCGA

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Reports of the death of the Patriarchy were premature:

And it's about to get worse, since the NCGA is trying to shrink the Board. More from Hannah:

Anti-abortion nuttery shifts into overdrive at NC General Assembly

Embracing quackery is now acceptable in GOP circles:

He claims the reversal process makes logical, scientific sense and said that animal studies in Japan showed that rats that were given Mifepristone had its effects reversed when given progesterone. He also pointed to a study published in 2012 in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy that described six case studies where four women had successful reversals and two lost their babies.

The Abortion Pill Reversal network Harrison is part of has attempted over 900 reversals, he said, and delivered 243 babies with no major birth defects. There are currently 120 women going through the protocol.

There's just so much wrong with that I can't even...

Eminent domain "clarification" most certainly assists pipeline company

Regardless of Republican claims to the contrary:

By striking the phrase “originating in North Carolina” from the state’s eminent domain law, a bill approved by the North Carolina House could remove a key legal obstacle for the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Otherwise, the words are “a significant stumbling block,” said eminent domain attorney Jason Campbell.

“I’m not looking for any expansion [of eminent domain authority] here,” said McGrady on the floor of the House. “I’ve heard the argument that we’re trying to promote fracking and promote a natural gas line. I’m just going to stand my ground and say ‘no.’ We’re just trying to clean the language up.”

It looks like BergerMoore is rubbing off on Chuck McGrady, a Republican for whom I have (up until now) held a modicum amount of respect. But I don't believe in coincidences, especially not when powerful corporate interests have hundreds of millions on the line. Lawyers for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are already busy attacking landowners in court, and McGrady's "language-cleaning" efforts will very likely tip the scales in their favor:

Environmental Injustice: Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Give us your land, you poor, huddled masses:

In North Carolina, from a compressor station, built somewhere in these woods of Pleasant Hill, the 36-inch diameter pipeline would continue underground. It would braid itself around I-95, cutting through wetlands, rivers and valuable farmland — even near homes — in seven more counties in eastern North Carolina: Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland and Robeson. Through communities of color, including former routes of the Underground Railroad, and Native American tribal lands. Through some of the poorest areas in the state.

Bolding mine, because we continue to engage in the same mistakes of 50-60 years ago, by pushing our dirty industrial operations into the poorest of areas. North Carolina is already in trouble with the Federal government (or was until the Dingus-in-Chief took over) for endangering poor African-American communities with CAFOs, but the toxins and catastrophic fire threats associated with NatGas transmission can turn deadly, in the blink of an eye. While economic factors might make this pipeline route the "path of least resistance," that's when government is supposed to step in and balance the scale for these folks. When we abdicate that most simple of responsibilities, we become (much) less of a democracy and more a corporatocracy. And FERC appears to be irreversibly contaminated with that mentality:

Koch Brothers' tentacles reaching into NC county Solar farm ban

KochBrothers.jpg

Backtracking the circuitous path of industry-funded pseudo-science:

Five of the planning board’s nine members present for Tuesday’s meeting voted unanimously to recommend the county’s unified development ordinance be amended to remove solar arrays as a permitted use.

The Planning Board’s recommendation comes in the wake of commissioners’ decision last month to impose a 60-day moratorium on consideration of any more solar farms in the county. Currituck Planning Director Ben Woody cited a number of reasons Tuesday for commissioners’ decision to impose the moratorium. One was a report by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality expressing concern about the loss of agricultural land and jobs in the state, as well as the loss of wildlife habitats.

And here is the first (of many) misleading statements or observations. The report cited did not come from DEQ researchers, it was compiled by the Energy Policy Council, a hodgepodge of business and industry people led by (believe it or not) Lt. Gov. Dan Forest:

Bogus assault on Michael Regan's potential conflicts

Talk about grabbing at straws:

In a letter obtained by the ABC11 I-Team, the State Ethics Commission confirms it found "the potential for a conflict of interest" pertaining to Michael Regan, the newly-appointed Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality.

Specifically, the letter notes Regan worked for a law firm that provided environmental consulting and that he was directly involved with the Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental advocacy non-profit.

Really? You're all-of-a-sudden concerned about law firms, when at least 1/3 of the sitting lawmakers in the NCGA are employed at such before/during/after their terms? Michael Regan spent 10 years at the EPA and 8 years with EDF, neither of which involved "profit margins" or any other monetary considerations, other than securing funding for needed projects or advocacy. One of his predecessors (John Skvarla), however, was a totally different story. Skvarla was the CEO of a private company whose only revenues came from mitigating environmental damage. Do I need to repeat that? It was in the best interests of Restoration Systems that water quality *not* improve, and that wetlands continue to be plowed under by developers, so the company could get contracts to "restore" them. Like they did a few months after John Skvarla took the helm at NC DENR:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Why elections to the NC Supreme Court matter:

Aside from the obvious usurpation of Roy Cooper's powers as Governor, the Ethics Board doesn't just look at campaign finance irregularities, they look at personal conflicts of interest, like filing bills that help lawmakers enrich themselves via investment portfolio holdings. Mixing the two would merely dilute both efforts, opening the door for corruption. Bad idea.

Legislative redistricting

Is this still happening (link below)? There was a flurry of reporting when the order was handed down in November but I haven't heard any updates. When will the new legislative district maps be released to the public? Will the entire NCGA face reelection in 2017?

http://www.wral.com/federal-court-orders-new-nc-legislative-elections-in-2017/16289906/

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