Republican attack on the environment

Trudy Wade's "garbage juice" bill just more pay-to-play politics

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The Queen of Trash strikes again:

A measure on its way to the governor's desk would allow landfills to collect the contaminated liquid that leaks from the trash and shoot it up into the air over the dump, using giant blowers called aerosolizers. The process would save waste companies money by reducing the amount of contaminated wastewater they have to pay to treat.

House Bill 576 would require the state Department of Environmental Quality to approve permits for the process, which Sen. Trudy Wade, R-Guilford, insisted Thursday is safe, though Democrats said they never received studies or data they had requested as evidence of that. The inventor of the aerosolizer technology, patent holder Kelly Houston of Cornelius, contributed $5,000 to Wade's campaign in June 2016, according to state campaign finance records.

And that $5,000 is all the evidence Trudy Wade needs. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with some Guilford County voters? When Wade is not trying to gerrymander the hell out of Greensboro, she's trying to contaminate the entire countryside with nasty landfill water. Trash collecting trucks leaking stinky water right in front of your house? Suck it up. Tired of the smell coming from that dump in your neighborhood? Just wait until we start spraying it in the air, you'll love that. And they keep electing her. Here's more from Lisa Sorg:

New Solar bill a wolf in sheep's clothing

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If you don't know your history, you're doomed to forget your successes:

North Carolina solar companies owe much of their success to an obscure federal law passed in the wake of the 1973 OPEC oil crisis, when shortages produced lines around the block at gas stations and tipped the U.S. economy into recession. At that time, Americans got about one-sixth of their electrical power from burning petroleum, much of it imported from the Middle East. In a bid for greater energy independence, lawmakers approved The Public Utility Regulatory Policy of 1978, known as PURPA.

Among other things, PURPA required utilities to buy renewable power from independent producers if it cost no more than electricity from the conventional power plants owned by the utility. The aim was to source more power from small renewable facilities, like the Person County Solar Park, easing demand for electricity from coal, gas and—in particular—petroleum-fired power plants.

I will say this again, and keep saying it if that's what it takes: In the clean energy revolution, in the reducing our carbon footprint contest, in the cutting back on pollution effort, it's all about the Megawatts. Yes, allowing for 3rd party leases on residential Solar is great, and it will make it a lot easier for folks to have them installed on their homes, but we're talking 10-15 kilowatts per. An analogy might better get my point across. Say you have a really long wall, that needs to be painted on both sides. On one side, you've got one person using a paint roller, and on the other side, you've got fifty people dabbing with a fine artist's paint brush. When the person with the roller gets tired, another steps up eagerly and starts rolling. On the other side, you're constantly trying to replace each of those fifty people dabbing. I don't need to tell you which side will be finished first, or that one of those sides may never be finished. It's a bad analogy, but it's been in my head for several weeks, and I had to get it out. Here's more on the threat to PURPA:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Time to pay the Polluting Piper

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Duke Energy seeks hundreds of millions in increased rates to clean up their own mess:

The Company is requesting recovery of ash basin closure compliance costs incurred since January 1, 2015, in the approximate amount of $66 million per year for five years; as well as recovery of ongoing ash basin closure compliance spending in the amount of $129 million per year, with any difference from future spending being deferred until a future base rate case. Recovery of ongoing costs will mitigate the need for future rate increases for compliance costs associated with coal ash basin closure.

This rate increase is further necessary to enable DE Progress to maintain its current financial position in light of those significant capital expenditures undertaken to meet its customers' needs.

Bolding mine, because it takes a special kind of hubris to demand your "financial position" not be jeopardized, regardless of how irresponsible your business practices have been. If this was anybody but Duke Energy or some other fossil fuel giant, the Free Marketers at JLF and Civitas would be having a whole mess of kittens over the idea of such a monopoly, much less the government helping them stay profitable.

The General Assembly's latest Jordan Lake boondoggle: Algaecide

Because what could possibly go wrong dumping dangerous chemicals into the drinking water?

A year after state environmental regulators called the SolarBees experiment a failure, state lawmakers are trying another unproven method to control pollution in Jordan Lake.

The $22.9 billion budget that the House approved early Friday includes a $1.3 million provision requiring the Department of Environmental Quality to use chemicals that either kill algae or bind with phosphorus, which algae feeds on. The technique is usually used in ponds and small lakes, not in a body of water as large as Jordan Lake.

This marks the ninth year since the Jordan Lake Rules were developed by state water quality specialists and approved by the EPA, and it also marks nine years of whining, plotting, and the embracing of pseudo-science in order to avoid implementation of those rules. And of course, since Crisis = Opportunity, revolving-door Republicans are also lining their pockets over this institutional aversion to responsible governing:

North Carolina's right-wing propaganda problem

A plethora of bent "news" organizations are dotting the landscape:

Few are the issues where the differences between conservatives and leftists are more striking than those involving air and water. Under the Obama administration, policies were put in place in the name of environmental stewardship that highlight these issues. One such policy is the Clean Power Plan, and another is the Waters of the U.S. Rule.

Unfortunately, the Cooper administration is clearly taking the side of these Obama-era regulations, despite their potential for harming North Carolina.

Mark Shiver and the "NC Capitol Connection" is an offshoot of the Civitas Institute, which has been seeking to expand its influence via the creation of "fresh new" media outlets with names not directly associated with Art Pope's traditional propaganda factories. Aside from churning out misleading observations and analyses about NC's political environment, Shiver is a frequent flyer of the ncpol Twitter feed, linking to his own drivel and (of course) anything crafted by JLF/Civitas. Another of these new propaganda outlets is the North State Journal:

Majority of NC House opposes moratorium on wind energy

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Hopefully they will stick to their guns and keep it out of Budget compromise:

The state Senate’s budget plan took an ax to the Department of Environmental Quality, while the House dipped in with a scalpel, setting up major differences to bridge when the two sides sit down to negotiate a final spending deal. In all, the Senate wants to eliminate a total of 45.5 positions, most of them currently filled. The House plan retains the assistance and customer service and education programs and only cuts 6.5 positions that are currently vacant.

What House budget writers did cut is aimed at a handful of programs and special provisions championed by their Senate counterparts, including a provision pushed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, that would impose a moratorium on new wind energy projects through 2020, a move that has the backing of some House members, but has been strongly opposed by a majority of its members.

This is critical. A 3-year moratorium would set us behind, and those projects will not wait for us to come to our senses, they will go to another state. And who knows what the investment environment will be like after 2020; we might never have this opportunity again. There is no science, or economics, or any other legitimate driving factor behind this moratorium, it's just ideology fueled (literally) by propaganda. Propaganda paid for by Kansas billionaires who don't give two shits about North Carolina's future, they just want to keep enriching themselves from leaky oil & gas pipelines. And those who would do their bidding (I'm looking at you, Civitas) have forfeited the right to claim they represent the interests of NC's citizens.

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