Conflicts of interest abound in NC Fracking "regulation"

Starting with the suppression of local government:

Before adjourning their session last week, North Carolina lawmakers passed a law prohibiting towns, cities and counties from adopting any regulations or ordinances on natural gas drilling or the controversial practice commonly known as fracking.

The provision appears to have put the kibosh on efforts by the city of Sanford and the Lee County commissioners, who had wanted to consider additional regulations of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

For those who have been following this issue closely, it will come as no surprise that Lee County is the epicenter of this legal earthquake. Between coal ash dumps and being in the crosshairs of frackers due to likely shale deposits, citizens are understandably concerned. But it's also home to a small group of influential pro-frackers determined to enrich themselves and their friends, no matter the environmental cost:

Blistering editorial on #NCGA big-government bullying tactics

And the courage of those who stood up to them:

Before ending its session early Wednesday morning, members of the legislature took one more crack at government overreach, trying to pass measures that would limit the authority and decision-making ability of local city and county governments. And they did so through underhanded methods that should put them to shame.

Fortunately, watchdogs from the media and advocacy groups, as well as other legislators, were paying attention, and the Rules Committee killed the bill.

Unfortunately, there have been many more bills that weren't killed in Committee, that passed floor votes, and were signed by the Governor, that were just as deserving of shame as this piece of Legislation. Including this unnecessarily cruel attack on unemployed hungry people:

The power of working together

From an update on Facebook:

THE POWER OF COALITION WORK: When I woke up yesterday morning and checked my email around 6:45 AM, I had an email from Chris Sgro about an emergency staff meeting for Equality North Carolina that I was invited to regarding a sneaky attempt by members of our North Carolina General Assembly to try and stop cities and towns in North Carolina from enacting local ordinances that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT citizens in housing, employment and public accommodations. At 8:30 AM, we met and mobilized.

Considering the roughshod behavior exhibited by the current leadership in the General Assembly, it's very easy to become discouraged and feel completely powerless. But always keep in mind: The reason Republicans favor the "divide and conquer" approach to dealing with their detractors is because they fear the power of unity:

Coal Ash Wednesday: DEQ rolls over for $7 million


They might as well join Duke Energy's legal team:

The company is settling a fine from earlier this year for $7 million. The amount is short of what the state originally wanted, and it looks like Duke could get a lot more out of the agreement in the future. “And under the terms of that agreement, duke energy will pay $7 million and resolve all of the groundwater issues past, present and future at all 14 of our coal plants,” said Sheehan.

“It's one of those situations where if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention,” said Southern Environment Law Center Senior Attorney Frank Holleman.

Let's see, originally it was $25 million for just one plant, and now it's $7 million for the whole shebang. Yep, I'd say "outrageous" is not an overstatement. DEQ is either horrifically inept, or they're simply playing a part in a Kabuki theatre, like we've been speculating about since they first began to insinuate themselves into lawsuits against Duke Energy.

Rebuttal to muni-broadband opponents

And unlike some corporate puppets, this guy knows what he's talking about:

By supporting U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ legislation to remove local authority for building broadband networks, the two lawmakers are siding with big cable and telephone firms over their own communities.

It is hardly a secret that Time Warner Cable, AT&T, CenturyLink and others are investing too little in rural communities. The majority of residents and local businesses in North Carolina have no real choice today and can expect their bills to go up tomorrow.

And yes, he's responding to the op-ed we talked about a few months ago. As somebody who's running for local government office, I have had my fill of state legislators dictating what duly elected town/city officials can and cannot do. And now we can add US Senators to that list of meddling, power-hungry tyrants.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

He said it, I didn't:

And you think that's a good way to do the people's business? Voting for something sight unseen, and then "catching up" later, when there's not a damn thing you can do about it?

Idiocy Not Limited To Food Stamps

Rep. Pittman, from Cabarrus County, takes today’s prize. He suggested Planned Parenthood “gave out” contraceptives that don’t work so they could “get more business.” That’s right, folks.

There was “bargaining” in the videos, he said, and “oh, I want a Lamborghini...” so we have to sell more women on an abortion to get that tissue.

“The very idea that Planned Parenthood would want to reduce abortions is ludicrous...they’re making money off of it....”

Republican idiocy surrounding Food Stamp issues

There should be a test to determine if lawmakers are able-brained:

Lawmakers in the Senate who debated the bill on Thursday said cutting off the benefits would induce people to find jobs. “I don’t know the exact number of people that this can ultimately affect, but I think that you’re going to see a lot of them either go and get that 20-hour-a-week job or they’re going to enroll in some kind of higher education to improve their job skills,” said Sen. Norman Sanderson (R-Arapahoe).

Pay attention, Einstein: The "S" in SNAP stands for supplemental. It only amounts to about $45 per week. If you honestly believe that somebody would choose not to work simply because they're receiving that, then you are a bonafide idiot. And as far as enrolling in higher education, many of Sanderson's constituents would have to drive 40+ miles to attend Pamlico Community College. They could receive financial aid to attend, but they would need a working automobile, money for gas, and a whole lot of other associated costs that Norman Sanderson doesn't have a clue are involved. It's one thing to hear an urban conservative spout such nonsense, but someone representing distressed Eastern North Carolina counties? Boggles the mind.


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