NCGA

Misleading and disingenuous: Smithfield's lawyers push the boundaries in hog nuisance lawsuit

And NC State (knowingly or not) is complicit in the deception:

Anderson, representing Smithfield, had attempted to liken Kinlaw’s waste management system — flushing the barns with wastewater and emptying the manure and urine into open lagoons to be sprayed hundreds of feet in the air onto fields — to that at a research farm operated by NC State University off Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh. Just three miles from the courthouse, Anderson argued, and yet people in downtown smelled nothing.

However, Rogers had visited that research farm as well, and conducted studies there. The only similarity is that both facilities are farms. The NC State faciliy has 1,000 hogs; Kinlaw has nearly 15,000. The NCSU farm uses clean water to flush the barns, sharply reducing the odors. The university farm, unlike Kinlaw, also removes solid particles that go into the lagoon, also reducing the odor, and has a different treatment system. “It’s not a fair comparison,” Rogers said.

Of course it's not a fair comparison. It's like apples and orange Crayons, only eating the Crayons probably wouldn't ruin your life or tank your property values. And while I realize this is civil court, where there's more leeway for rhetorical ad-hominem attacks, this particular dog-whistle should have been snatched out of their hands by the judge:

UNC Wilmington solves mystery of GenX in rainfall

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Add a little water and presto, you get a toxic downpour:

UNCW also tested rainwater samples to determine if GenX showed up there. When it did, they alerted the state and then tried to figure out where it was coming from. Ultimately, they determined that while GenX itself isn’t being spread through the air, a chemical that rapidly turns into GenX when mixed with water likely is coming from Chemours’ stacks.

Pam Seaton, the chair of UNCW’s department of chemistry and biochemistry, said, “The precusor to GenX at Chemours is what’s called an acid fluoride, and when it touches water it turns into GenX. What they emit, apparently, through the stacks at Chemours is the acid fluoride. ... We could actually see within minutes the precursor being converted to GenX, which then is wherever the rain takes it.”

I'd be willing to bet my last dollar that Chemours' chemists were well aware something like this would happen to those emissions, and I would also bet that installing some form of scrubbers could greatly reduce that effect. But that costs money, and you know what that means. Unless they are forced to install it, it ain't happening. GenX is also embedding itself into river bottom sediment, which means it will be seeping into the water for a long time even after all discharges have stopped:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke Energy's self-regulating "research" is flawed

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Extracted from the 2017 4th quarter Executive Summary of the Allen Steam Station:

An update to the 2016 human health and ecological risk assessment was conducted. There is no evidence of unacceptable risk to humans and wildlife at Allen attributed to CCR constituent migration in groundwater from the ash basins. The only evidence of potential unacceptable human related risks estimated in the 2016 risk assessment was under the hypothetical subsistence fisherman scenario due to concentrations of cobalt in fish tissue. This risk assessment update supports that the fisher risks were overestimated based on conservative exposure (it is unlikely subsistence fishermen exist in the area) and modeled fish tissue uptake assumptions (modeled concentrations likely exceed actual fish tissue concentrations if measured), supporting a risk classification of “Low” based upon groundwater related considerations.

This is not research, it's rhetoric, carefully crafted to leave the reader confident there's nothing to worry about. The "cobalt in fish" thing is simply a red herring, if you'll pardon my use of a salt water species to drive home a point. If they reported they'd found nothing at all, people wouldn't believe them. So we get cobalt in fish, that nobody's going to eat anyway. Just an aside: Cobalt concentrations detected in at least three common species have been proven to reduce appetite, subsequently stunting growth in the fish affected. The truth is, there are several other toxins even worse than cobalt leaking from the Allen plant:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

If this isn't in your top ten most important issues, you're part of the problem:

I don't usually play that "you're part of the problem" card, but there simply is no region/area where affordable housing isn't becoming a crisis. We all need to work on this.

NC GOP funding effort to collect signatures for unaffiliated House candidate

Alternate title for this diary: Desperately Seeking Dallas:

The North Carolina Republican Party distributed a mailer to 6,000 Wilson County homes this week and state Rep. Susan Martin, R-Wilson, has recorded a robocall urging voters to sign Fontenot’s ballot access petition. “A lot of people are aware of what’s going on, but the mailers are very good because it brings the opportunity directly to their door,” Fontenot said.

As an unaffiliated candidate, Fontenot must gather about 2,200 signatures — representing 4 percent of registered Wilson County voters — in order to be listed as a challenger to eight-term state Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat. There is no Republican candidate in the race.

Before we talk about the ethics of this, I just wanted to point out how this story exposes another Dallas Woodhouse lie, when he bragged the GOP had achieved the same thing the NCDP had by having a candidate in all 170 NCGA races. But these lies are so ubiquitous now, as they are with his role model Donald Trump, it's doubtful any mainstream media will even ask him about it. Back to the ethics, and one glaring, gaping hole in the integrity of this gambit:

Dear NCDP: Win the suburbs, win the state

Because that is where 2018's biggest battles will be fought:

In Illinois primary elections on Tuesday, the five counties that wrap around Chicago's Cook County saw Democrats cast almost five times as many ballots as they did four years ago, ahead of a midterm romp for the GOP. Republicans, meanwhile, saw their turnout drop by almost a quarter of what it was in 2014.

The national Republican money machine is focusing heavily on defending the suburbs. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a political action committee aligned with Speaker Paul Ryan, has opened field offices in 30 Republican-held districts, with plans eventually to spend more than $100 million in as many as three dozen.

If you look at the graph above, you will see Republicans took 64% of the suburban vote in North Carolina in 2016. They actually did better in the suburbs than rural areas, which should freak you out more than a little, frankly. Why? Because suburban voters have a (much) higher percentage of college graduates than their rural counterparts. And yet, they voted for a card-carrying idiot for President. We're seeing a big shift in suburban voting nationwide during these special elections, but we can't assume that will happen here, in the absence of a huge effort by Dems to retake *our* suburbs. The thing to keep in mind, and I don't want to come off as too elitist here: The higher education level of the suburbs also means having information presented to them in a tactful manner may generate more (and better) results than those efforts would elsewhere. They have the background to make the right decisions, but they need a little push to do so.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Speaking of gerrymandering...

Which is all the more reason to focus heavily on Legislative races, at least here in NC. I'm still seeing way too many Dems talking only about Congressional contests, when there are 170 NCGA seats in play this year.

The anatomy of an environmental bad actor: DuPont's Teflon cover-up

The fallacy of allowing industry to self-regulate:

Thirty-four years ago, an employee from a DuPont plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia, filled a jug with tap water from a little general store just across the Ohio River called Mason’s Village Market. An internal DuPont document shows that the company was secretly testing the water for ammonium perfluorooctanoate — better known as C8. DuPont employees also took samples from stores in eight other unsuspecting communities in the Ohio River Valley.

The document shows C8 was detected at three stores closest to the plant, including Mason’s Village Market in Little Hocking, Ohio. It also shows that, at one of those stores, the level of C8 measured more than 20 times higher than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today considers safe for drinking water.

Their actions (or inaction) is proof the only reason they conducted this testing was to determine future legal exposure, not whether they should change their behavior for the safety of citizens. This compound has been slightly modified 3-4 times over the years, and again, it appears the reasons for those modifications was not to make them safer, just provide deniability. GenX is the most recent iteration, and here we are starting with a blank slate on just how toxic it is. But at least we seem to be ahead of the game compared to these poor folks:

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