Republican attack on the environment

Wilmington resident files potential class-action lawsuit over GenX

Sometimes waiting for official actions is not enough:

Filed in Federal District Court in Wilmington on behalf of city resident Brent Nix, the suit seeks health monitoring for illnesses that may be caused by GenX and similar contaminants released into the Cape Fear River from Chemours’s plant 160 km upriver in Fayetteville, N.C. In addition, it seeks compensation for lost property value on behalf of Nix and as many as 100,000 additional plaintiffs should the court certify the case as a class-action suit.

According to the suit, “defendants have negligently and otherwise acted to cause toxic chemicals to be released from the Fayetteville Works Site, which then traveled to and contaminated and damaged the properties and household water supplies of plaintiff and class members, and exposed them to toxic chemicals.”

Go get 'em, Brent. These corporate polluters have been playing (and mostly winning) the game of profits outpacing the legal costs of bad behavior for way too long, and civil court may be the only way to force them into a "Come to Jesus" moment to change their ways.

DEQ rejects permit application for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Unfortunately, this is just one part of the process:

Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has rejected an environmental plan by Duke Energy and three other energy companies to build an interstate pipeline to carry natural gas from West Virginia into North Carolina.

The letter of disapproval from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is the first decision on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline from any state or federal government agency in the three states the project would traverse. Duke Energy is also expecting a decision this month from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as to whether the $5 billion pipeline project is necessary.

If you'll think back to the Stop Titan days, you'll remember their permits were rejected before they were approved, so don't be surprised if this decision gets reversed in the near future. But it does demonstrate that DEQ is closely scrutinizing the issue, and isn't going to lay down and play dead.

Rep. Jimmy Dixon criticizes DEQ for problems he helped create

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Slash their staff, and then blame them for getting behind:

From the get-go, the committee meeting felt contentious and at times, contradictory. Rep. Jimmy Dixon, a Republican from Duplin County, declared there would be no discussion of the Department of Environmental Quality’s financial straits, noting that “the media and other people for political purposes have made funding part of this issue.”

But there’s no getting around the expense and future financial commitment that would be required to monitor and fix the state’s surface water and drinking water pollutions. The budget cuts inflicted upon DEQ are now legendary, although Dixon seemed unfazed by that fact. “There is a 41 percent backlog in permit reviews,” Dixon said, addressing Assistant DEQ Secretary Sheila Holman. “Does the department have an ongoing internal efficiency analysis?” Dixon: “I’m a farmer and know efficiencies.”

Uh, no. If you were that damn efficient, you wouldn't need Federal farm subsidies and fat checks from Big Ag lobbyists and lawyers. I get so tired of these Republicans dodging the questions about their de-funding of DENR/DEQ. If you want a lot of the dirty details, you'll find them in this (massive pdf) Legislative efficiency report from 2014, which explores in-depth many of the lost positions. But it's depressing as hell, so you may want to skip it.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Forcing Duke Energy's hand on flood map disclosure

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Apparently their battalion of lawyers are already too busy to fight this:

Duke Energy last week said it would soon publish inundation maps and emergency contact information related to safety planning for coal ash storage facilities on its website, reversing its previous policy of not publishing the information.

Earthjustice had announced its intention to sue Duke Energy in Kentucky in order to compel the utility to disclose critical information the environmental group argued was required by federal law. While the utility company initially refused to release the information, it later released a statement saying it was "revisiting the issue" and had determined the data should be made available to the public.

I don't care if they claim a "burning bush" told them to release the information, as long as it gets published. Another issue they need to "revisit" is their continued knee-jerk reaction to releasing or admitting anything that might generate some bad PR. The constant framing and denialism does absolutely nothing to engender confidence in their professionalism or technical capabilities, it actually does the opposite. But reprogramming corporate drones is apparently not in their toolbox.

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