Daily dose: FCC hearts muni broadband edition

F.C.C. Chief Wants to Override N.C. Laws Curbing Community Net Services (New York Times) -- Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will propose an order to pre-empt state laws that limit the build-out of municipal broadband Internet services, senior F.C.C. officials said on Monday. The proposal focuses on laws in two states, North Carolina and Tennessee, but it would create a policy framework for other states. The chairman’s plan to invalidate the two state laws comes in response to petitions from two municipal Internet service providers: the Electric Power Board in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Greenlight, a community-owned broadband service in Wilson, N.C. THE WHOLE STORY

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/02/f-c-c-chief-wants-to-override-state-laws-curbing-community-...

LEGISLATURE 2015

NC Senate budget-writers roll out early spending bill (AP) — Top Senate budget-writers have written an early-session spending bill that in part seeks to ensure a panel drafting new academic standards for North Carolina's public schools has money to perform its work. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.news-record.com/news/north_carolina_ap/nc-senate-budget-writers-roll-out-early-spending-b...

Working on budget fixes (WRAL-TV) -- Committees we're watching: The Senate Budget Committee will take up a number of technical bills, including one to fix a funding snag with the new Coal Ash Management Commission. Senate Bill 14, filed Monday night, would also provide funding for the Academic Standards Review Commission, which is tasked with creating North Carolina's alternative to the Common Core educational standards. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.wral.com/today-nccapitol-working-on-budget-fixes/14414964/

NC House bill would do rewrite on redistricting method (AP) — A bipartisan effort to take the pens for redrawing legislative and congressional districts out of the hands of General Assembly members is trying to build momentum with the legislature back in session. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.news-record.com/news/north_carolina_ap/nc-house-bill-would-do-rewrite-on-redistricting-me...

Draw NC legislative districts without politics? Talks underway (Raleigh News & Observer) -- there’s a reinvigorated movement among officials and policy groups with ties to both political parties who say they’re sick of gerrymandering, or at least of the public skepticism that comes when politicians handle how the voting areas are drawn. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/02/4525039/new-effort-begins-to-remove-politics.html

FCC chair supports Wilson's petition (Wilson Times) -- In response to petitions made by Wilson and Chattanooga, Tenn., FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is proposing dismantling state laws to allow the expansion of municipal broadband services such as Greenlight. Wheeler issued a statement Monday calling both cities forward-thinking communities. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.wilsontimes.com/News/Feature/Story/35588455---FCC-CHAIR-SUPPORTS-WILSON-S-PETITION

FCC Ready to Ratchet Up Internet Regulation (Wall Street Journal) -- FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wants to expand his agency’s authority over broadband providers, regulating them tightly like telecommunications firms and fully embracing the principle known as “net neutrality.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/fcc-to-propose-strong-net-neutrality-rules-1422911055

FCC Gearing Up to Challenge N.C., Tenn. Laws Limiting Municipal Broadband (Gov. Executive) -- Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C., previously asked federal officials to intervene. And the FCC's chairman is reportedly ready to do so. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.govexec.com/state-local/2015/02/fcc-gearing-challenge-north-carolina-tennessee-municipal-...

Wake County school board looking to restore tenure rights for teachers (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Wake County school leaders plan to provide locally many of the due-process rights that state legislators removed from teachers as part of efforts to eliminate tenure. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/02/4525608/wake-county-school-board-looking.html

Nelson Dollar loses Super Bowl bet, forced to praise Patriots (Raleigh News & Observer) -- State Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Cary Republican, lost his Super Bowl bet and spent Monday afternoon praising the New England Patriots on the House floor. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/02/4525442/nc-rep-nelson-dollar-loses-super.html

POLICIES & POLITICS

Republican Tillis goes to Washington and discovers Democrats (McClatchy Newspapers) -- U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis has been a senator less than a month, but he was the first person chosen to answer questions in the first installment of a new "Agenda Setter Series" on Monday at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. "You were a management consultant. How would you turn this place around?" Jason Grumet, the president of the Washington non-profit think tank, asked at the beginning of a 45-minute question-and-answer session in front of a packed room and a C-Span camera. The Republican freshman said he was "building relationships" with members of the Senate, mostly with Democrats. He said he'd met with "seven or eight" Democratic senators one by one so far. Before the talks, he said he did some research on their views on a variety of issues. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/02/4525645/tillis-says-hes-meeting-with-democrats.html

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers responds, explains abortion bill actions (McClatchy Newspapers) -- U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers has written an online essay to explain why she opposed a requirement in an abortion-ban bill last month, and to say that she's "appalled by the abhorrent and childish behavior" of some anti-abortion group leaders. Ellmers wrote that she is opposed to abortion. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/02/4525279/us-rep-renee-ellmers-responds.html

N.C. Pregnancy, Abortion Rates Dropping (N.C. Health News) -- A look at trends in pregnancies, births and abortions in North Carolina over the past several years. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2015/02/03/pregnancy-rate-dropping-with-it-abortion-rate/

Army to listen to Fort Bragg's, Fayetteville's concerns (Fayetteville Observer) -- Army leaders will be at Fayetteville's Embassy Suites hotel Thursday for a "listening session" on potential cuts to Fort Bragg. Those proposed cuts have been labeled as potentially devastating by local officials, who note the area's economic dependence on the military. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/army-to-listen-to-fort-bragg-s-fayetteville-s-concerns/article...

Defense cuts could move thousands of troops from Fort Bragg (WRAL-TV) -- As the U.S. military continues to downsize after pulling out of Afghanistan and Iraq, cuts could soon hit Fort Bragg. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.wral.com/defense-cuts-could-move-thousands-of-troops-from-fort-bragg/14415317/

Controversy over? NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson installed (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Shelby Stephenson is installed as North Carolina’s new poet laureate, six months after Valerie Macon’s controversial appointment and resignation. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/02/4525859/new-nc-poet-laureate-shelby-stephenson.html

Retired UNC-Pembroke professor installed as state Poet Laureate (Fayetteville Observer) -- Retired professor Shelby Stephenson of UNC-Pembroke on Monday was installed as North Carolina's Poet Laureate. Gov. Pat McCrory held a ceremony for Stephenson in the Capitol in Raleigh. Stephenson, who is from Johnston County, taught literature and creative writing at UNCP for more than 30 years and has published at least 13 books and five music albums. THE WHOLE STORYhttp://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/retired-unc-pembroke-professor-installed-as-state-poet-laureat...

http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/retired-unc-pembroke-professor-installed-as-state-poet-laureat...

Zombie Obamacare stat emerges, thanks to RNC, again (Washington Post Fact Checker) -- Health-care premiums, like the costs of most goods, go up year after year. What matters is the rate of increase — and right now, health-care inflation is at its lowest rate in decades. So the RNC has managed to take a good-news story and tried to turn it into something negative. That alone would result in another Three Pinocchios. But in order to make the numbers look even worse, the RNC changed the baseline and went all the way back to a year before Obama became president. That’s worthy of Four Pinocchios. Is it a small thing to ask that we finally put this zombie stat to rest? Four Pinocchios THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2015/02/03/a-zombie-obamacare-stat-emerges-again...

How Republicans Are Learning to Love Obamacare (Bloomberg News) -- Republican-led states that blocked Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion have found a way to embrace it, under pressure from businesses to tap the flood of federal dollars it brings. … In North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory said he would want new Medicaid recipients to be required to look for work. The Obama administration has rejected imposing work requirements. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-03/tennessee-shows-how-republicans-are-learning-to-lo...

Supreme Court Obamacare case poses political peril for GOP (Politico) -- The Supreme Court could be months away from blowing a huge hole in Obamacare — and Republicans on Capitol Hill are at odds over how they’ll respond if their side wins. … A ruling that eliminates the subsidies could have huge political implications in states that will be pivotal to Republican efforts to win the White House and maintain control of the Senate in 2016. Subsidies could be eliminated in swing states (including North Carolina) in the 2016 presidential election with GOP-controlled Senate seats. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who could face a tough reelection next year, said that the onus will be on the White House if the law is derailed by the Supreme Court. “As far as I’m concerned, if King v. Burwell is struck down, the White House is the one responsible to say what they’re going to do next,” Burr said. “They’re the ones between a rock and a hard place because this is their plan.” THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/supreme-court-obamacare-case-poses-political-peril-for-gop-114...

‘MINDLESS AUSTERITY’ vs. ‘ENVY ECONOMICS’: Obama Budget Sets Off Push for Deals (Wall Street Journal) -- The president’s call for sweeping tax increases in a budget proposal that dropped any quest for fiscal grand bargains with Congress, but also laid out narrower domestic priorities that may appeal to Republicans. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.wsj.com/articles/obama-to-detail-nearly-4-trillion-budget-for-fiscal-2016-1422874801

Defense budget includes nearly $169 million in construction on Fort Bragg (Fayetteville Observer) -- Fort Bragg will see a small building boom next year if President Obama's fiscal 2016 budget proposal is approved. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.fayobserver.com/military/defense-budget-includes-nearly-million-in-construction-on-fort-b...

McCrory still reviewing pardon for brothers (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory is still reviewing the pardon application submitted Sept. 11 by Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, who spent three decades in prison before being declared innocent and freed in September, according to a spokesman Monday. McCollum and Brown continue with struggles to adapt to the outside world after 30 years in prison. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/02/4525728_gov-mccrory-still-reviewing-pardon.html

McCrory offering new plan for historic tax credit (WRAL-TV) -- Gov. Pat McCrory plans to push a revised tax credit for rehabilitating historic properties across North Carolina in order to resurrect the economic development tool, Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz said Monday. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.wral.com/mccrory-offering-new-plan-for-historic-tax-credit/14414510/

NC leader urges state to restore historic tax credits (WNCN-TV) -- A state leader says North Carolina is facing a crisis. Susan Kluttz, the state secretary for the Department of Cultural Resources, toured the American Tobacco campus in Durham on Monday as part of her trip around the state to hear how historic tax credits have helped developers. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.wncn.com/story/28003365/nc-leader-urges-state-to-restore-historic-tax-credits?clienttype=...

Manheimer, other NC mayors, push McCrory on biz tax (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer is among several mayors of larger cities around the state pushing Gov. Pat McCrory to listen to them and take action on a source of municipal revenue set to expire June 30. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.citizen-times.com/story/elections/2015/02/02/esther-manheimer-pat-mccrory-privilege-licen...

McCrory ponders how to pay for huge roads program (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has said he’ll give the 2015 General Assembly “targeted revenue recommendations” for filling a transportation funding deficit expected to reach between $34 billion and $94 billion by 2040. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/02/4525615/road-worrier-mccrory-ponders-how.html

BORROW & SPEND: Debt study says NC can issue more bonds than a year ago (AP) — The amount N.C. could borrow without losing its top credit rating grows as revenues rebound and the legislature sticks to a no-new-debt diet since the Great Recession, according to a report from State Treasurer Janet Cowell. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.news-record.com/news/north_carolina_ap/debt-study-says-nc-can-issue-more-bonds-than-a/art...

Cowell: Politics limit North Carolina – not finances (Triangle Business Journal) -- The state of North Carolina has the debt capacity to take on large projects in the next five to 10 years. That’s the take of a new Debt Affordability Study spearheaded by North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell, a document that aims to determine how much debt the state can issue “and still be prudent.” THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2015/02/02/janet-cowell-nc-treasurer-debt-affordability-stu...

Cowell: Money no issue in state bond debate (WRAL-TV) -- State Treasurer Janet Cowell says state lawmakers have plenty of room to borrow money for projects this year. The debate will be more about politics than percentages. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.wral.com/cowell-money-no-issue-in-state-bond-debate/14415372/

Fake companies, fake workers (WRAL-TV) -- The state Division of Employment Security says it is battling a new type of unemployment fraud, one that involves fake businesses, fake workers and false claims of unemployment. During its latest investigation, which spanned 18 months, the division identified 105 fake employers statewide and 672 fake unemployment claims filed by people who allegedly worked for the bogus companies. The state stopped $5.2 billion in payments. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.wral.com/fake-companies-fake-workers-state-battling-new-type-of-unemployment-fraud/14414281/

Informal Labor Activism Picks Up Union Slack in NC (WUNC-FM) -- A report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks North Carolina at the bottom nationally for labor union membership. 1.9 percent of workers in the state were in unions last year. That's down from 3 percent. That doesn't surprise James Andrews, the president of the North Carolina AFL-CIO. Andrews says North Carolina is a "right to work" state which doesn't give unions much clout, so they don't invest much organizing energy or money here. THE WHOLE STORY

http://wunc.org/post/informal-labor-activism-picks-union-slack-nc

McCrory set to speak at FTCC center opening (Fayetteville Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory will speak at Wednesday's dedication of Fayetteville Technical Community College's new Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology Center. The event will begin at 10 a.m. at the new center, 2821 Procurement Circle, in Fayetteville's Military Business Park. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/gov-pat-mccrory-scheduled-to-speak-at-ftcc-center-opening/arti...

In WNC, thousands rely on public housing, vouchers as programs’ future remains uncertain (Carolina Public Press) -- While public housing is generally thought of as a more urban phenomenon, it, in fact, exists — in some form — in each one of Western North Carolina’s 18 counties. And as some deal with strains on their existing resources, some waitlists for public housing are a year long. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.carolinapublicpress.org/21681/in-wnc-thousands-rely-on-public-housing-vouchers-as-program...

For N.C. Veterans, Bill Aims to Improve Mental Health, Reduce Suicide (Public News Service) -- The U.S. Senate could vote Tuesday on legislation to improve mental health services for veterans in North Carolina and throughout the nation. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2015-02-03/budget-policy-and-priorities/for-north-carolina-veterans...

Evans leans in favor of Sanderson proposal (Fayetteville Observer) -- Cumberland County Commissioner Charles Evans said he was leaning in favor of approving an incentives package for a proposed poultry processing plant following a public hearing Monday night. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/evans-leans-in-favor-of-sanderson-proposal/article_94c2f634-34...

Harnett County Leaders Approve New Gun Ordinance (TWCN-TV) -- The ordinance limits where people can shoot guns in the county. It will be illegal on property less than 10,000 square feet, across a public roadway, across someone else's property without written permission and without proper containment or backstop. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.twcnews.com/nc/triangle-sandhills/news/2015/02/2/harnett-county-leaders-approve-new-gun-o...

GENERAL NEWS

The best ZIP code for marriage in the U.S. is in eastern N.C. (Triangle Business Journal) -- In advance of Valentine's Day, a report says this city in eastern North Carolina is the best in the nation for marriage. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/morning_call/2015/02/reportthe-best-zip-code-for-marriage-in-the...

New Online Tool Can Help North Carolinians Save Thousands In Medical Costs (WUNC-FM) -- Are you about to have a medical procedure? Have you chosen a provider yet? Before you do, you might consider taking a look at what the procedure will cost. Blue Cross-Blue Shield of North Carolina now has an easy online tool to help you do just that. We used the tool to search for a variety of common procedures. The user can enter a town or zip code, and the number of miles s/he is willing to travel. THE WHOLE STORY

http://wunc.org/post/new-online-tool-can-help-north-carolinians-save-thousands-medical-costs

‘Sleepy Hollow’ provides economic boost to city, exposure for Palace (New Bern Sun Journal) -- Tryon Palace’s role as a backdrop in the Fox television show “Sleepy Hollow” last month had an estimated $250,000 impact on the local economy, according to the New Bern-Craven County Convention and Visitors Center. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.newbernsj.com/news/local/sleepy-hollow-provides-economic-boost-to-city-exposure-for-palac...

3 accused of mutilating llama at Union County farm (AP) — Three men mutilated a 300-pound llama that was protecting dozens of alpacas in an act of "pure meanness," said police and the farm owner. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/3-men-accused-mutilating-llama-north-carolina-farm-2784991

SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES

Philanthropist leaves $20M endowment in N.C. Community Foundation's hands (Triangle Business Journal) -- ​The N.C. Community Foundation became the administrator of a $20 million endowment as a result of the wishes of longtime North Carolina philanthropist Louise Oriole Burevitch, who died in September. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2015/02/02/louise-oriole-burevitch-nc-community-foundation....

A 'living legend': Danny Lotz recognized (Durham Herald-Sun) -- At a surprise ceremony,UNC’s 1957 NCAA championship basketball team member Danny Lotz was conferred with The Order of The Long Leaf Pine. State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey, a former congressman and UNC athletic director, presented the honor on behalf of Gov. Pat McCrory at Amity United Methodist Church, where a Bible study Coby and Lotz helped to form meets. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.heraldsun.com/news/showcase/x992359771/A-living-legend

Effort aims to double the number of third-graders reading on grade level (Charlotte Observer) -- Known as Read Charlotte, the $5.5 million community-wide reading initiative set to be unveiled Tuesday will bring together some of the city’s largest companies and philanthropic organizations to steer money and services around the common goal. THE WHOLE STORYhttp://www.charlotteobserver.com/2015/02/03/5489560/read-charlotte-wants-to-double.html

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2015/02/03/5489560/read-charlotte-wants-to-double.html

Wake Co. Police Asking Schools to Reconsider Funding for School Resource Officers (TWCN-TV) -- Some local police departments in Wake County are asking the school system and county commissioners to reconsider how funding is provided for school resource officers or SRO's. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.twcnews.com/nc/triangle-sandhills/news/2015/02/2/wake-co--police-asking-schools-to-recons...

Guilford Moves Lecture by Steven Salaita (Inside Higher Ed) -- Guilford College has moved a lecture by Steven Salaita, the controversial scholar whose hiring was blocked by officials of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but not called off the event. The family of donors who paid for the building where Salaita was scheduled to speak objected to his appearing there. A statement from the college said that, in consultation with faculty members who organized the appearance, a new site was found. The statement said that had a new site not been found, the original location would have been used. THE WHOLE STORY

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/02/03/guilford-moves-lecture-steven-salaita

Lower Gas Prices Creating Extra Funds for NC Schools (TWCN-TV) -- Low gas prices nationwide are having a major impact on transportation costs for North Carolina schools. Officials in Durham County say they're saving about forty cents per gallon due to the dip in prices. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.twcnews.com/nc/triangle-sandhills/news/2015/02/2/lower-gas-prices-creating-extra-funds-fo...

Obama’s Proposed Budget Seeks More for Education (Wall Street Journal) -- President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal calls for a $3.6 billion increase in discretionary funding for the Department of Education, with backing for signature proposals such as making community college free. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.wsj.com/articles/obamas-proposed-budget-seeks-more-for-education-1422898651

American Underground to host 2040 minority fellowship winner (WRAL-TV) -- American Underground, which formally opened its latest expansion in office space on Monday, will host one of three $40,000 fellowships as offered by CODE2040, an organization whose goal is to expand the number of minority entrepreneurs and high-tech employees. THE WHOLE STORY

http://wraltechwire.com/american-underground-to-host-2040-minority-fellowship-winner/14416418/

Regulate charter schools (Greenville Daily Reflector editorial) -- The monumental failure of Kinston Charter Academy is rightfully being used as a call for more state oversight of tax dollars pouring into charter schools. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.reflector.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-regulate-charter-schools-2785075

Study: High-quality early education could reduce costs (Washington Post) -- Duke University study shows that early educational programs can reduce learning disabilities. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/study-high-quality-early-education-could-reduce-costs/...

Fayetteville State's board chairman seeks to balance tuition, competitive faculty costs (Fayetteville Observer) -- Balancing affordable tuition with the needs for competitive faculty and technology is one of the issues facing the new Fayetteville State University board chair. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/fayetteville-state-s-board-chairman-seeks-to-balance-tuition-c...

How should we measure teaching and learning in N.C.? (EdNC column) -- The last three instructional days have made me stop and think about the validity of assessments for students. Seniors enrolled in English this semester face two very different forms of accountability—both with high stakes before graduation. Let’s take a closer look at how my students are being tested this week—and see which assessment has the greater benefit. THE WHOLE STORY

https://www.ednc.org/2015/02/03/measure-teaching-learning-north-carolina/

Doubling up on literacy problem (Charlotte Observer editorial) -- Charlotte’s leaders have been in the habit lately of announcing audacious goals and making bold promises, and we like it. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2015/02/03/5490413/doubling-up-on-literacy-problem.html

THE SPILL

County to seek coal ash compensation (Danville Register & Bee) -- The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to look into legal action against Duke Energy for reparations for last year’s coal ash spill on the Dan River at its meeting on Monday. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.godanriver.com/news/coal-ash/county-to-seek-coal-ash-compensation/article_336ad6b6-ab48-1...

Coal ash lessons (Greensboro News & Record) -- Last year’s coal ash spill on the Dan River near Eden jolted North Carolina out of its complacency about environmental dangers. The question is what lessons has it learned. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.news-record.com/opinion/n_and_r_editorials/coal-ash-lessons/article_1de30cf4-ab1c-11e4-9b...

Where we stand a year after the coal ash spill (Burlington Times-News editorial) -- The anniversary of one of North Carolina’s worst environmental disasters passed on Monday, overshadowed perhaps by armchair analysis of controversial play calling and depressing advertising in the hangover that is Super Bowl Monday. But it’s significant to mark this episode in our state’s history — Feb. 2, 2014 — the date many in North Carolina first paid much attention to coal ash and what Duke Energy does, or does not, do with it. Perhaps more importantly, what the state’s regulators and political leaders do or don’t do about it. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.thetimesnews.com/opinion/our-opinion/where-we-stand-a-year-after-the-coal-ash-spill-1.432603

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Power from the sun: Investment in solar panels pays off for one homeowner (Shelby Star) -- While solar energy companies search for land to use for solar farms, some residents are working directly with power companies to provide solar power from their own yards. Shelby resident David Roberts’ backyard contains 30 solar panels across three solar arrays, which supply his home with power on sunny days. The excess power supplied by his panels goes to Duke Energy. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.shelbystar.com/news/local/power-from-the-sun-investment-in-solar-panels-pays-off-for-one-...

Hearings set on offshore wind farms (Wilmington Star-News) -- Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, better known as BOEM, has scheduled two public hearings for mid-February. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20150202/ARTICLES/150209963/1017/news01?Title=Hearings-set-on-...

LEE COMMISSIONERS: Board repeals pro-fracking resolution (Sanford Herald) -- On Monday night, with a fresh Democrat majority, the Lee County Board of Commissioners rescinded a resolution supporting extraction of natural gas in North Carolina — a resolution the formerly Republican-controlled board passed in April 2012. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.sanfordherald.com/archive/x929927174/LEE-COMMISSIONERS-Board-repeals-pro-fracking-resolution

Lower Gas Prices Creating Extra Funds for NC Schools (TWCN-TV) -- Low gas prices nationwide are having a major impact on transportation costs for North Carolina schools. Officials in Durham County say they're saving about forty cents per gallon due to the dip in prices. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.twcnews.com/nc/triangle-sandhills/news/2015/02/2/lower-gas-prices-creating-extra-funds-fo...

St. Louis investor funds six solar plants in the Raleigh-Durham area (Triangle Business Journal) -- St. Louis investment firm Gardner Capital is financing six solar systems in the Raleigh-Durham area. While the exact location is a closely held secret, Joe Benga, general manager for solar development at Gardner, says the facilities are "spread around in a circle" in rural areas around the Triangle, all within an hour of Raleigh and Durham. The facilities are expected to generate nearly 57,000 MWh of solar power in their first year of operation, enough to support the annual needs of more than 5,300 North Carolina homes and offset more than 39,000 metric tons of the carbon dioxide. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/blog/techflash/2015/02/gardner-capital-solar-plants-raleigh-durh...

McCrory yields to environmentalists, offshore energy workshop will be live-streamed (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory caved to environmental interests following an outcry over a “staff workshop” on offshore energy exploration was kept secret from the public last year and has scheduled a second workshop that will be live-streamed online. The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources says the informational workshop in Raleigh on Wednesday is once again meant for state and federal officials in the mid-Atlantic region. A link for the web cast will be released on Tuesday. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/02/4525530/amid-criticism-next-offshore-energy.html

The 450 leaders that will fight to claim 35.2GW of the US Wind O&M Market (Eco-Business) -- New estimates by leading data providers GlobalData demonstrate that the North American wind industry will increase from 68.9 GW in 2014 to 104.1 GW in 2020. The O&M market provides relatively clear market visibility going forward and many key components suppliers are entering into this segment, so heightened competition is expected. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.eco-business.com/press-releases/the-450-leaders-that-will-fight-to-claim-352gw-of-the-us-...

Duke Energy calls watchdog's claims 'absurdity' (Wilmington Star-News) -- The "absurdity of NC WARN's allegations" that Carolina utilities have built excess generating capacity was revealed in early January, Duke Energy told federal regulators. The frigid temperatures of the past two Januaries proved just how wrong and misguided the utility watchdog was when it asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to investigate the possibility Duke Energy is manipulating the power market, the utility said in a response filed with FERC last week that urged the commission to dismiss NC WARN's complaint. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20150202/ARTICLES/150209966

Obama budget would slash oil tax breaks while boosting renewables (Fuel Fix) -- In his $4 trillion budget request to Congress, Obama also says he wants to change the way money from offshore oil and gas production is shared with Gulf Coast states, by diverting more of those dollars to national programs with “broad” natural resource and conservation benefits. THE WHOLE STORY

http://fuelfix.com/blog/2015/02/02/obama-budget-would-slash-oil-tax-breaks-while-boosting-renewables/

Obama’s Budget Would Pour Funds Into Climate, Renewable Energy (Wall Street Journal) -- President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget plan would pour billions of dollars into climate change and renewable energy technologies, and repeal nearly $50 billion in tax breaks from the oil, natural gas and coal industries. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.wsj.com/articles/obama-budget-would-pour-billions-into-climate-renewable-energy-1422903421

Clemson receives funds to boost farmer energy efficiency (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Farmers and long leaf pine forests in South Carolina may benefit from funding under a new federal program authorized under the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill that seeks to create public-private partnerships in conservation efforts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that two South Carolina programs are slated for funding, including one led by the Clemson University Extension office. That program will receive $1.1 million to provide outreach and technical assistance for farmers interested in improving energy efficiency in plant and animal production buildings. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/2015/02/02/clemson-extension-farmers-energy-efficiency-pine-...

Survey to help protect against sweet potato weevil under way (AP) — The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Plant Industry Division has begun an extensive survey in Brunswick and New Hanover counties for the sweet potato weevil, considered to be the most significant sweet potato pest in the world. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.news-record.com/news/north_carolina_ap/survey-to-help-protect-against-sweet-potato-weevil...

Crab Pot Project Is a Success (Coastal Review) -- The N.C. Coastal Federation's pilot program wrapped up, clearing hundreds of derelict crab pots from waterways between Ocracoke Island and the Virginia line. THE WHOLE STORY

http://nccoast.org/Article.aspx?k=014a5428-231b-45dc-a3d9-fbd71c7a4ea9

EDITORIALS

Off-shore drilling worth pursuing (Jacksonville Daily News/ The Daily Comet of Thibodaux, La.) -- Unless the people of this nation do away with cars, plastics, electricity and all the other things that are made of or depend on the oil and gas industry, we have to plan responsibly how to best use the resources we have. Fortunately, any development of domestic energy will likely make us less dependent on the nations and interests that destabilize so much of the world. Let’s press ahead cautiously and give these plans a thorough vetting. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.jdnews.com/opinion/our-opinion/off-shore-drilling-worth-pursuing-1.432804?page=0

Make incentives package a priority (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic N.C. Sen. Angela Bryant don’t often see eye to eye on political issues. But on something as important as economic incentives for new businesses, there is hardly a bit of difference between the two. Both recognize how critical incentives are to landing a major company. McCrory has made no secret of his hopes to bring an automobile manufacturer (and thousands of jobs) to North Carolina while he’s in the Executive Mansion. That’s great news to Bryant and leaders in the Twin Counties. A 1,200-acre site in the Kingsboro community of Edgecombe County would make a perfect landing place for such a plant.

https://www.rockymounttelegram.com/opinion/our-views/make-incentives-package-priority-2785403

Driving home the coming transportation funding crisis in NC (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Current estimates predict a $3.7 billion annual shortfall in North Carolina’s transportation revenue during the next 25 years, revenue that will be vital to ensure safe travel on our roads and bridges, support our anticipated population growth and meet the mobility demands of our state’s economy. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/02/4525614/driving-home-the-coming-transportation.html

The Supreme Court’s Secret Decisions (New York Times) -- The orders docket includes nearly everything else the court must decide — which cases to hear, procedural matters in pending cases, and whether to grant a stay or injunction that pauses legal proceedings temporarily. There are no oral arguments in these cases and, as in Mr. Warner’s situation, they are often decided with no explanation. Despite their obscurity, these orders — there are thousands each year, if you count decisions not to hear cases — are significant. Consider the flurry of orders issued in the month before the 2014 election. The court stopped Wisconsin from implementing a strict voter identification law while it allowed a similar law to be implemented in Texas, and it also stopped lower courts from expanding early voting in Ohio or voter registration in North Carolina. THE WHOLE STORY

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/03/opinion/the-supreme-courts-secret-decisions.html

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