Republican attack on the environment

Eminent domain "clarification" most certainly assists pipeline company

Regardless of Republican claims to the contrary:

By striking the phrase “originating in North Carolina” from the state’s eminent domain law, a bill approved by the North Carolina House could remove a key legal obstacle for the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Otherwise, the words are “a significant stumbling block,” said eminent domain attorney Jason Campbell.

“I’m not looking for any expansion [of eminent domain authority] here,” said McGrady on the floor of the House. “I’ve heard the argument that we’re trying to promote fracking and promote a natural gas line. I’m just going to stand my ground and say ‘no.’ We’re just trying to clean the language up.”

It looks like BergerMoore is rubbing off on Chuck McGrady, a Republican for whom I have (up until now) held a modicum amount of respect. But I don't believe in coincidences, especially not when powerful corporate interests have hundreds of millions on the line. Lawyers for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are already busy attacking landowners in court, and McGrady's "language-cleaning" efforts will very likely tip the scales in their favor:

Koch Brothers' tentacles reaching into NC county Solar farm ban

KochBrothers.jpg

Backtracking the circuitous path of industry-funded pseudo-science:

Five of the planning board’s nine members present for Tuesday’s meeting voted unanimously to recommend the county’s unified development ordinance be amended to remove solar arrays as a permitted use.

The Planning Board’s recommendation comes in the wake of commissioners’ decision last month to impose a 60-day moratorium on consideration of any more solar farms in the county. Currituck Planning Director Ben Woody cited a number of reasons Tuesday for commissioners’ decision to impose the moratorium. One was a report by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality expressing concern about the loss of agricultural land and jobs in the state, as well as the loss of wildlife habitats.

And here is the first (of many) misleading statements or observations. The report cited did not come from DEQ researchers, it was compiled by the Energy Policy Council, a hodgepodge of business and industry people led by (believe it or not) Lt. Gov. Dan Forest:

Bogus assault on Michael Regan's potential conflicts

Talk about grabbing at straws:

In a letter obtained by the ABC11 I-Team, the State Ethics Commission confirms it found "the potential for a conflict of interest" pertaining to Michael Regan, the newly-appointed Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality.

Specifically, the letter notes Regan worked for a law firm that provided environmental consulting and that he was directly involved with the Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental advocacy non-profit.

Really? You're all-of-a-sudden concerned about law firms, when at least 1/3 of the sitting lawmakers in the NCGA are employed at such before/during/after their terms? Michael Regan spent 10 years at the EPA and 8 years with EDF, neither of which involved "profit margins" or any other monetary considerations, other than securing funding for needed projects or advocacy. One of his predecessors (John Skvarla), however, was a totally different story. Skvarla was the CEO of a private company whose only revenues came from mitigating environmental damage. Do I need to repeat that? It was in the best interests of Restoration Systems that water quality *not* improve, and that wetlands continue to be plowed under by developers, so the company could get contracts to "restore" them. Like they did a few months after John Skvarla took the helm at NC DENR:

Digging deeper into wind farm opposition

Lisa Sorg skewers John Droz for his disingenuous deceptions:

However, the tone of the letter — histrionic and at times, sycophantic —and even the punctuation are similar to that in Droz’s blogs and articles. Reached by email, Droz did not answer a direct question about any involvement in drafting the letter. Instead, he wrote: “I have no problem with communicating with journalists who are making an honest effort to objectively describe a situation. However, years ago I made it clear to you that I was never a real estate developer — yet you continue to include that falsehood in your correspondences.”

(Droz’s online “real-estate focused resume” says he owns and has renovated numerous properties in New York State. He also claims to have co-founded one of the largest real estate companies in central New York. He also writes that in the 1980s he taught a widely acclaimed course on “How to Succeed in Real Estate Investing.”

Yeah, not sure how much of that resume is fact vs fiction. It does say he's a member of Mensa, which is difficult to swallow, after engaging in a few online debates with him. Pretty sure there's less there than meets the eye, if you catch my drift. But back to the notorious letter and its dubious claims:

Moore has second thoughts about Amazon Wind Farm

Score one more for common sense:

Asked about his reaction to a tour he attended last week of Amazon Wind Farm U.S. East, Moore’s office shared a statement that contrasted sharply with the January letter’s demands to either shut down or drastically modify the 104-turbine farm near Elizabeth City.

“The Amazon Wind Farm is new to North Carolina and takes advantage of a valuable natural resource our state has to offer,” Moore said in the statement. “Based on the information I have gathered today and over the past several weeks, it appears the initial concerns raised by the military are being addressed.”

Just to be clear, the "initial concerns" raised by the military were addressed long before this letter was dreamed up by Harry Brown and his fellow fossil-fuel-loving dinosaurs. Which Moore should have known before adding his signature. But some others seem to be too stubborn to let go of their fictional narrative:

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