NCGA

Op-Ed on the devastation of the wood pellet industry

In which I take Steve Troxler to task:

Just looking at the hog industry alone, the sheer number of animals and the waste they produce here in North Carolina has created a water quality crisis that has crossed over into other industries that support tens of thousands of our fellow North Carolinians. Many fish in eastern North Carolina are no longer edible, and massive fish kills are becoming more frequent. Which leads us to what Steve Troxler is not: an environmentalist. So when he starts bandying around terms like "renewable" and "sustainable," it gets my antennas waving a little bit.

Using woody biomass in place of coal to fire the steam generators in power plants is relatively new. I had a debate with an N.C. State grad student several years ago about this very thing, and he assured me (because he had been assured) there was more than enough scruffy byproduct from land development to scratch this particular itch. I tried to explain to him the sheer volume needed would soon have us chopping down healthy trees to keep the supply flowing. I wish I had been wrong, but I wasn't.

Please hop the link and go read the whole thing at the Fayetteville Observer. The more traffic articles like this get, the more likely they will publish other opinions of a similar nature in the future.

High Arsenic levels reveal dangers of de-watering

Of course, Duke Energy spokesbot sez "No big deal":

Scott said the water tested was contaminated with arsenic at a level four times higher than the surface water safety standard. Nearby neighbors were disturbed by the findings. "We are very concerned, and this is another reason why Duke Energy needs to full clean up all that coal ash,” said Deborah Graham.

Duke Energy said the findings are very misleading. "Elevated arsenic levels are located immediately near the permitted release area. If you sample a short distance away in the river arsenic levels are well within the appropriate standard and would pose no risk to people on the river,” said Duke Energy Spokesperson Erin Culbert.

Did you sample that water a short distance away, or is that just speculation? The "if" leads me to believe you didn't, or you would have said something like, "Samples taken a short distance away..." While everybody reading this is probably aware Arsenic is some bad stuff, the health problems associated with long-term exposure are numerous:

Dan Forest is certifiably insane, and obviously unfit for office

And yet we've allowed him to preside over the NC Senate:

“It’s hard for me to imagine that my wife would have to walk into a bathroom anywhere in North Carolina and have a man follow her into that bathroom,” Forest said. “They said that in the city of Charlotte, you have to take the (gender) signs off your bathrooms,” he said. “They’re actually a test lab for a radical sexual revolution experiment.”

The Charlotte ordinance did not require the removal of gender-specific bathrooms, nor did its provisions involve signage.

A radical...what? Seriously, someone needs to sit him down and do a full psychological evaluation. Conspiracy theories are bad enough, but this dude has crossed over into full-on delusional behavior...

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The GOP's bitter reaction to the NCAA's decision has already gone national:

Reading from the Book of Crazy:

NC's HB2 fallout now includes NCAA events

Based on the NCAA's commitment to fairness and inclusion, the Association will relocate all seven previously awarded championship events from North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year. The NCAA Board of Governors made this decision because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.

“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships."

The deterioration of the NC Chamber of Commerce

No longer the visionaries they once were:

In the last few years, things changed at the state Chamber. The main emphasis became lower taxes -- corporate and personal income taxes – along with a draconian approach to modifying the state’s unemployment insurance tax plan by reducing unemployment benefits. The money saved by cutting benefits, in a plan pushed by the chamber, was then used to pay the employers’ debt to the federal government for money borrowed to support the exploding burden brought on by the Great Recession.

The Chamber got its tax cuts and was silent on the controversial matters that were important to the ideologues controlling the General Assembly. The Chamber made a deal (it might be said ‘sold out North Carolina’) as attacks on public education, the environment and the fair treatment of people, go forward.

Like many organizations in North Carolina, the NC Chamber used to operate in an autonomous fashion compared to its national counterpart. But that unique approach is gone, replaced by the same, tired pursuit of profit margins and short-term gains pushed by the US Chamber. When they should be taking whatever positions they can to shore up the middle class, they're actually working hard to destroy it, and turn a sizeable portion of the workforce into wage slaves.

2017 "Special Election" for some GA seats a possibility

That's what happens when you disregard the Constitution:

Attorneys for the state lawmakers who have been forced by the federal courts to redraw congressional and state legislative district maps have suggested July 28, 2017, as the deadline for coming up with a new legislative districting plan that complies with the federal court ruling.

The challengers plan to provide more details by Sept. 30 on why they think the court should order a special election in 2017 instead of waiting until 2018 as the lawmakers have suggested.

Honestly, it should be the other way around. Republicans should have to explain why waiting for *two years* to repair these screwed up districts is justifiable. And I can't think of any reason how it could be.

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