When Gov. Pat McCrory speaks, it's frequently hard to discern whether he's being disingenuous for political reasons or truly believes what he says but is surprisingly uninformed of reality. Such is the case with the governor's latest foray into immigration. McCrory on Tuesday and again on Wednesday sounded the alarm about 1,200 unaccompanied immigrant children who have trickled into North Carolina. McCrory wants these kids' deportation hearings held, and quickly.
"We do not know where the over-1,100 children are right now and what the status of their legal guardians are and whether or not these children are protected, and that's what I care about --- the protection of these children," McCrory said at a press conference Wednesday. "We have to get them with guardians we know are safe themselves." On Tuesday, he had added that the state doesn't know if the children lack immunizations and pose health risks to North Carolinians.
Well, there won't be any Gubernatorial cookies baked for these kids. It's apparent this is just one more case where the DAG opened his mouth and started spewing rhetoric without doing his homework:
But water pollution is not the only environmental threat from poorly regulated coal ash: A new report identifies serious health risks from airborne coal ash, which will be a growing problem for North Carolina and other states as they shift from wet to dry storage, as many environmentalists are urging.
Last week Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and Earthjustice released "Ash in Lungs: How Breathing Coal Ash Is Hazardous to Your Health." It finds that coal ash dust can be inhaled into the lungs, where the small particles cause inflammation and immunological reactions and increase the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes. The dust can get into the air from dry coal ash landfills and from uncovered trucks carrying coal ash, and it presents a hazard to workers handling coal ash as well as nearby residents.
As is often the case with toxic residue from industrial activity, there is no silver bullet to solve the problem. The particulates in coal ash vary greatly in size, and the smaller stuff can be carried on the wind quite some distance before some unlucky person (or animal) breathes it in:
Submitted by Vicki Boyer on Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:14pm
On a typical weekend, Facebook's political content calms down quite a bit, as everyone tries to relax and get away from their work-week activities. Even the biggest political geeks need a breath of fresh air.
This past weekend was different, and the difference has continued through Monday. It was like the way we hear the Feds say that 'chatter' on the internet was up all of a sudden. And there was a whole lot of chatter.
So, What's the buzz, tell me what's-a-happening, what's the buzz??
Education. Facebook, Twitter and even the old standby, email, were all abuzz over how we pay our teachers and education in North Carolina. This issue is not going away. Our elected reps may have left town, but they left a lot of wreckage behind them. The question is, who will be around to pick up the pieces after November's election?
The current budget will limit special assistance eligibility to people who earn below 100 percent of the federal poverty level ($11,670 for an individual annually, or $972 per month). Anyone looking to receive special assistance after Nov. 1 who earns more than that amount will no longer qualify.
“That could be extremely problematic,” said Jenny Gadd, the group home manager for Alberta Professional Services, which runs several group homes for people with mental health issues in the Triangle and Triad. “It’s hard to tell what the eligibility really is going to look like, but that could really affect people in group homes."
Once again, the people who would have been included in a Medicaid expansion are suffering unnecessarily at the hands of those navel-gazers who can afford premium care. Every legislator who supported this provision should have to take care of an Alzheimer's patient in their home for a couple of weeks, just to see what that entails. It's an eye-opener, believe me.
A provision in the N.C. Farm Act of 2014 passed by the legislature last week will shield complaints made against farming operations from public view, effectively exempting them from state open records laws. This is wrong. We appreciate farmers and the food they provide for us. But, especially as large farming operations edge out small family farms, environmental protections are needed. And the public has a right to know how those protections are faring.
Supporters of the provision say it will deter frivolous complaints. But Justin Quinlivan, an investigator with the Yadkin Riverkeeper, told the Journal that the provision would protect the agriculture industry from scrutiny, leave the public in the dark, and decrease citizen complaints about violations that may threaten public health and safety. He voiced another concern: The provision would give investigating agencies unfettered discretion on whether complaints even should be investigated.
I'd like to see some stats on just how many "frivolous" complaints are actually filed. If a farm is polluting, but not as much as the person filing the complaint thinks it is, that is not "frivolous." And numerous investigations have shown these big operations inevitably pollute to a certain degree, even the ones who make a genuine effort to scale it down.
The General Assembly will not pass a bill governing the clean up of 33 coal ash pits at 14 locations across North Carolina after House and Senate negotiators failed to reach a consensus late Thursday night and early Friday morning.
"Up until about eight hours ago, I thought we could reach an agreement," Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, said early Friday. "Then things took an odd turn ... and I'm just going to leave it at that."
As some environmental groups have put forward, it would be better to have no legislation (right now) than bad legislation. But considering coal ash was the first issue on the docket at the beginning of this session, they've definitely had time to work out the kinks. If the leadership wanted to, that is. And apparently they're having some difficulty keeping their troops in line:
AN ACT to disapprove the mitigation program requirements for protection and maintenance of riparian buffers rule adopted by THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION, DIRECT THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION TO ADOPT A NEW MITIGATION PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS FOR PROTECTION AND MAINTENANCE OF RIPARIAN BUFFERS RULE, and amend wastewater disposal system requirements.
SECTION 1. Pursuant to G.S. 150B‑21.3(b1), 15A NCAC 02B .0295 (Mitigation Program Requirements for Protection and Maintenance of Riparian Buffers), as adopted by the Environmental Management Commission on May 9, 2013, and approved by the Rules Review Commission on July 18, 2013, is disapproved.
Bolding mine. Five years of work, done by a Commission that already had more industry input than it should have, tossed aside because a small yet clever group of people saw an opportunity to take advantage of a failsafe that was put in place to keep a small yet clever group from abusing the rulemaking process. We are impressed by such guile, but many lawmakers are not:
Submitted by Vicki Boyer on Wed, 07/30/2014 - 4:28pm
There was a moment at this morning's Senate Rules Committee meeting at NCGA that left me scratching my head…. I hope y'all can help clarify something for me.
The bill being discussed was HB 761. This huge, 62 page Proposed Committee Substitute covers everything from Ambiant Air Monitoring and Animal Euthanasia Requirements to making it a Class H felony to poach venus fly traps from the only area where they grow in the wild (down east NC).
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