NCGA

For people in Wilmington, GenX is still a mystery

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And one that desperately needs to be solved:

It's been two years since communities surrounding the Cape Fear River found out their water supply had been contaminated by a compound known as GenX, part of the group of hazardous chemicals called PFAS. Today, New Hanover County residents say they still need answers.

Emily Donovan, who co-founded the group Clean Cape Fear, said local residents remain in the dark. "A lack of information does not equal 'safe,' and that's where we have been living for the last two years," she said. "We've been living with a lack of information, and we're being continually told the water is still safe to drink."

One of the most frustrating aspects of this problem is the "locked vault" when dealing with industrial chemical compounds. No doubt Chemours has a ton of information about GenX, but between preserving trade secrets and shielding the company from legal exposure, that information might as well not exist:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

When a man's true character emerges, pay attention:

Somebody needs to ask Craig Horn why it took the Legislature two months to respond to the hurricane in the first place. Of course they were too busy doing other (partisan) crap, but they'll never admit that.

A Cooper Veto of the Budget is exciting pundits

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Concurring on the concurrence is the question:

The length of the 2019 legislative session — outside another rash of extra sessions — could come down to whether Gov. Roy Cooper and Senate Democrats are willing to bog down the state budget process for the sake of inserting some form of Medicaid expansion.

Cooper could also choose to veto the Republicans’ compromise budget bill to highlight disagreements over public education and environmental issues as well.

Maybe even more than the Governor, this is a test of the willpower of NC House Republicans. The Senate's Budget is a stinking mess, and unless the House can wrangle some fairly serious changes, Cooper is going to have to Veto the thing. Don't usually lean on Puppet quotes to drive home a point, but Mitch Kokai makes some good ones:

NC Republicans lied in court to delay fixing their Gerrymandered maps

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Their skeletons are busting out of the closet:

The Republicans told the federal court hearing the map case that they would not be able to draw new legislative districts and hold public hearings on them in time for a proposed special election in late 2017 or early 2018. In fact, Common Cause said, Mr. Hofeller’s files show that almost all the work was already done: proposed new boundaries had been drawn for more than 97 percent of the state’s proposed Senate districts and 90 percent of House districts.

A senior Republican legislator who was involved in the redistricting, Representative David R. Lewis, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yeah, I bet he didn't. This also partly explains why the NC GOP has been pushing so hard to get those hard drives out of circulation:

Modified permit for Enviva exposes the sheer volume of NC trees that will be lost

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Clear-cutting our forests to service a boondoggle in Europe:

Enviva Pellets Hamlet, LLC and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Division of Air Quality (DAQ) on Monday reached a settlement with Clean Air Carolina (CAC) in which the wood pellet processing company agreed to a new round of measures to control emissions and to submit semi-annual output reports to CAC for review.

In January, Enviva modified its permit with the DAQ to allow it to increase its production of wood pellets from 537,625 oven-dried tons per year to 625,011 and to be reclassified as a minor source of pollution in exchange for adding new emission controls.

Bolding mine, because this method of calculation actually downplays the volume of trees this industry is consuming. In order to arrive at that "oven-dried" weight, several times that amount of green/wet wood is required. Enviva is clear-cutting some 50 acres of North Carolina forests every single day. Here's more from the Rachel Carlson Council:

Coal Ash Wednesday: A history of chronic spillage at Sutton Lake

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As usual, sedimentary deposits tell the tale:

"Our results clearly indicate the presence of coal ash at the bottom of Sutton Lake and suggest there have been multiple coal ash spills into the lake from adjacent coal ash storage facilities after, and even before, floodwaters from Hurricane Florence caused major flooding in 2018," said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, who led the research.

According to Vengosh and his colleagues from Duke and Appalachian State University, the amount of contaminants was more than what was found in streams following major coal ash spills in Kingston, Tennessee in 2008 and the Dan River in North Carolina in 2014.

Of course Duke Energy is spouting denials and rationalizations left and right, but Avner knows his stuff. This isn't an environmental advocacy org speaking, it's pure science:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The question all North Carolinians should be pondering:

Never forget the GOP motto: If it ain't broke, break it; and if it's a good policy that will help those on the lower end of the income spectrum, rip it up and throw it in the trash.

Appparently Walter Jones' shoes are too big to fill

Both GOP candidates for NC03 are pushovers for Trump:

Both state Rep. Greg Murphy, R-Pitt, and Dr. Joan Perry recently told The Daily Advance they’re willing to defer to President Trump on handling tensions and avoiding war with Iran, although Perry did say she would support Congress holding a formal vote before the president committed any troops to any armed conflict with the Middle Eastern country. Murphy, for his part, believes Trump has the power to initiate military action against Iran. We assume he believes the president enjoys this authority under a nearly two-decades-old authorization to use military force, even though that was adopted to fight terrorism in the wake of 9/11, not wage wars against sovereign nations.

That neither candidate would demand a vote by Congress before Trump committed any U.S. troops to armed combat in Iran shows just how much fear Republicans have of asserting any independence from Trump. Unfortunately, it also suggests we’ve learned nothing since the last time a GOP commander-in-chief was rattling a saber and slowly marching us off to war against a Middle Eastern country.

Bolding mine, because there was at least one man who learned something from the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and these two candidates are trying to replace him. Back in 2007 Jones tried to pass a bill specifically stopping a sitting President from attacking Iran without a Congressional thumb's-up, and in 2012 he tried to pass a resolution making it an impeachable offense for a President to make war without Congressional approval:

Law enforcement balks at Hemp revolution for all the wrong reasons

These aren't the flower tops you're looking for, move along:

"Law enforcement cannot discern the difference between smokable hemp and marijuana, and our State Crime Lab cannot discern the difference because they can't discern the level of the THC that it contains," Peg Dorer, director of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, told members of the Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources committee on Thursday.

The farm bill would create a presumption in state law that licensed hemp farmers aren't growing marijuana, but Dorer said that creates a loophole that would basically legalize marijuana in the state. "Law enforcement will not be able to seize or arrest for marijuana because they can't tell, and prosecutors will have a very difficult time and will not be able to prosecute any violations of marijuana laws," she said.

Um, good? Prosecutors are already looking at a mountain of prior convictions that will need to be re-evaluated and expunged once marijuana is decriminalized, the last thing they need to be doing is adding to that pile. As far as police are concerned, this could actually make their jobs easier, and free them up to pursue violent criminals (you know, rapists and murderers and such). And here's another obvious truism: Decriminalization or outright legalization of marijuana for recreational use will decouple the kind bud from the supply chains of other narcotics like opioids and cocaine, better isolating the purveyors of such. On a separate but related note, I was not aware that smokable hemp even existed, but it's apparently a pretty big deal:

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