Republican attack on the environment

$3 Billion for roads but only $1.3 Million for contaminated water

On the plus side, when you drive to the store for bottled water, the ride will be smooth:

A method to accelerate local and regional road-building projects in North Carolina by authorizing up to $3 billion in debt has made it through the General Assembly.

The legislation that permits the borrowing is heading to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's desk following Tuesday's House vote of 94-21. Cooper is expected to sign the bill, which passed the Senate unanimously last week and would represent a rare moment of bipartisanship between the executive and legislative branches.

There's little doubt we need to spend more money on our roads, but we should also dedicate a healthy chunk of that to alternative forms of transportation, like buses and trains, and even bicycle-friendly roadways. But when you have billion-dollar private industries contaminating our fresh water resources, and developing new chemical compounds faster than we can try to pronounce their titles, regaining control of that situation is a government imperative. We need to see some bi-partisan movement on that a hell of a lot more than we need cooperation on road building and maintenance. And low-balling DEQ on their desperately needed equipment is a recipe for disaster:

Corruption, thy name is James Womack

frackingmontgomeryburns.jpg

And strangely enough, he seems to be exerting undue influence on himself:

Last August, five people had written to to the commission, alleging that they had been unfairly prohibited from applying for drilling permits in Lee County because of a local ordinance establishing a temporary moratorium on fracking. In their petition, the complainants asked the commission to essentially overrule Lee County government and allow them to frack for natural gas on their land.

Yet all of the complainants holding the metaphorical sword over Womack’s head are his friends, neighbors or professional colleagues — relationships that could jeopardize his impartiality in granting a hearing or voting on whether to undermine Lee County’s authority. And questions about Womack’s potential role in the drafting the individual complaints raises further concerns about the depth of his involvement in promoting fracking in his home county.

Okay, so: Republicans pull this kind of crap all the time, by recruiting "regular citizens" (who also are usually local Party acolytes) to file complaints about this or that, to provide an excuse for GOP elected officials to take action. See the 2016 voter fraud fiasco for background, in which several local "citizens" filed voter challenges in an effort to undermine/overturn Roy Cooper's victory over Pat McCrory. But in this case, it's glaringly obvious that Womack is in cahoots with local landowners eager to start poking holes in the ground, regardless of what the duly elected county government says:

DEQ unveils new Environmental Justice & Equity Board

Something that's been a long time coming:

Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan announced the membership of the Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board today. Its 16 members, inclusive of diverse racial, ethnic, gender and socio-economic backgrounds, plans to meet quarterly. Its charge is to advise Regan and DEQ on how to ensure all North Carolinians can enjoy clean air, water and land in their neighborhoods.

Since appointed by Gov. Cooper, Regan said his priority “has always been same — to redefine the agency’s purpose. It’s no secret that I wasn’t satisfied with the mission we inherited. It downplayed the protection of people and no, it did not reflect my vision and the governor’s vision of inclusivity.”

He said a mouthful with that last sentence. DENR did not (in my opinion) pay enough attention to "where" potentially polluting industries were sited, when it comes to the socioeconomic class of people affected, anyway. That was before the scourge of McCrory, where the dynamic duo of John Skvarla and Donald van der Vaart played the Citizens United card by elevating industry to the same level (or above) regular citizens by labeling them as "customers" and not potential bad actors that needed close watching. As to environmental justice, I'ma just quote myself to save some time:

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