Republican attack on the environment

Senate Budget stops DEQ from implementing hog waste permit changes

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Putting the health and welfare of NC citizens at riisk:

The Senate bill, which was released Tuesday, includes significant differences in funding for environmental programs and Department of Environmental Quality spending plus a number of policy proposals not in either previous plan.

Among the top differences is spending on research and testing on emerging contaminants, upgrades and additions to DEQ’s main laboratories and several new special provisions, including a review of the recent process for adopting new general permit requirements for animal waste management systems that would delay for a year the implementation of tighter controls for swine, poultry and cattle operations.

Apparently in the minds of Republicans, elections don't have consequences. They are following the recommendations of the former DEQ Secretary (van der Vaart), who is now a John Locke Fellow (whatever the hell that means), instead of the current DEQ Secretary Michael Regan:

New report highlights the economic benefits of clean energy

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And rural areas are getting a large slice of that pie:

A new report shows the economic impact of more than a decade of clean energy investment in the state. The study from the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association finds clean energy development projects generated more than $28.2 billion dollars statewide since 2007.

Clean energy projects can be a boon to rural, low-income counties. The report finds rural Eastern counties have benefitted the most. Duplin and Robeson counties lead the state with more than $650 million dollars of clean energy investment apiece.

In place of my normal long-winded spiel, I'll quote myself from almost four years ago:

Say it ain't so, Joe: Biden's inclusion of Nat Gas in energy platform under fire

Dipping his toes into tainted waters:

The hair-trigger criticism of Biden's climate plan, which has yet to be released, underscores the tension emerging between the left and centrist wings of the Democratic Party over the climate issue.

The report, from Reuters, said Biden will seek to rejoin the Paris climate accord and reinstall emissions-reducing regulations that President Trump is trying to throw out. But Biden would also, according to the report, be “supportive of nuclear energy and fossil fuel options like natural gas and carbon capture technology" in an effort to buffer negative impact on working-class folks.

Dog save us from politicians who don't pay attention to what's going on around them. Natural gas doesn't just appear magically, it's fracked out of the ground, contaminating millions of gallons of drinking water in the process. And during the transportation of gas from the well site to the power plant, fugitive emissions of methane contribute greatly to the atmospheric greenhouse effect. As far as carbon capture is concerned, that might as well be a unicorn itself. The amount of money it would take to develop the technology, not just for capture but also for sequestration, would be much better spent on genuine renewables. Also, I'm not sure Biden understands how this message will be digested:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke would cap the #2 worst contaminating site in the nation

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Their judgment simply cannot be trusted:

A new environmental report points to a threat to ground water in 39 states, including a local facility as the second worst in the nation. The report confirms the worries people living near Duke Energy's Allen Steam Station have been concerned about for years.

The report claims coal ash dumps in Belmont are leaking cobalt into groundwater, more than 500 times above safe levels, along with other pollutants. Exposure to cobalt can cause thyroid damage.

It can also lead to cardiomyopathy and blood thickening, which are even worse than they sound. Throw Arsenic into that cocktail, and you've got a drink that's definitely not recommended by doctors. But the real moral to this story: This is one of the sites that Duke Energy has decided could be capped in place safely, and is now suing DEQ to block its ruling to excavate it. From the report itself:

Earth Day 2019: Judge blocks Trump effort to mine coal on public lands

This is a big win, folks:

The decision, by Judge Brian Morris of the United States District Court of the District of Montana, does not reinstate President Barack Obama’s 2016 freeze on new coal mining leases on public lands. That policy was part of an effort by the Obama administration to curtail the burning of coal, a major producer of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

But the court ruling does say that the 2017 Trump administration policy, enacted by former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, to overturn Mr. Obama’s coal mining ban did not include adequate studies of the environmental effects of the mining, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970, or NEPA, one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws. “Federal Defendants’ decision not to initiate the NEPA process proves arbitrary and capricious,” Judge Morris wrote.

Bolding mine, because that is the most succinct definition of Trump's behavior I've seen. We don't know what he's going to do from day to day (arbitrary), but it almost always involves some little pissing contest he was drawn into (capricious). And apparently nothing gets under his skin more that previous policy moves by Obama:

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