scharrison's blog

Coal Ash Wednesday: Hold on to your wallets

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Duke Energy looking to raise rates to pay for ash cleanup:

Duke argues that closing the ash basins, as state and federal rules now require, is part of its cost of doing business. That, it says, makes the company eligible to recover those costs by adding them to the electricity rates that consumers pay.

“We’re relying on the fair and well-established precedent in North Carolina that allows us to recover money that we spend to comply with environmental rules and regulations,” Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said. “We’ve managed coal ash properly for decades, so historically the Utilities Commission determined that those costs are recoverable and should be included in customer bills.”

Bolding mine, because damn. That is Trump-level nonsense right there. The Dan River coal ash spill dumped 46,594 cubic yards into the River, leaving at least a 2" layer of toxic ash on the river bottom for over 10 miles. Just to give you a reference on such volume, that amount of coal ash would fill 330 tractor-trailers. If that's managing coal ash "properly," I'd hate to see what mismanagement would do. Thankfully Josh Stein isn't under any delusions about Duke Energy's responsibilities:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Thom Tillis is a species of carrion fowl, preying on the less fortunate:

Thanks, I've been meaning to dredge up that old video anyway. Shaming people who need food stamps and other public assistance is craven, to say the least.

Memorial Hall on UNC campus under scrutiny for Confederate references

A lot of history in that building, and not all of it is good:

“We have all kinds of plaques in the hallways that remind us of the founders of the University. Some of them are only identified as ‘John Smith, planter,’ and then there are other people who are identified clearly as people who are signers of the original charter, they’re important people,” Moeser said. “But on either side of the proscenium are memorial plaques to the alumni Confederate war dead."

Christina Rodriguez, associate director of marketing and communications for CPA, said at this point, CPA has officially lodged a request through former Chancellor Moeser to move the conversation about the future of the tablets forward.

And of course there's always the question of slave labor used in the construction of these really old buildings, and how many were injured (or killed) during that process.

Republican NC Senate candidate hit with restraining order

Dude sounds like a real winner:

The couple married in June 2018 after knowing each other for three years. They met when she was in his gun store shopping for a firearm. Dennis Nielsen is 71. Karen Nielsen is 50, according to court records. “Some of these females like to find a gentleman and have more money,” Dennis Nielsen said. Karen Nielsen said that was a joke because her husband doesn’t have any real money.

Staying with friends, Dennis Nielsen said he hasn’t been home since being served with the court order. He also said he had to close his gun store because he’s not allowed to be in possession of firearms while the order is in effect.

FWIW, a "gentleman" doesn't push his wife down a flight of stairs. This is another advantage of being a Democrat, frankly. While we may have our fair share of lunatics, we only allow a limited range of crazy to survive in our ranks, and gun-toting wife-beaters fall (far) outside that zone. Here's more, but you may need a barf bag handy:

Predator in Blue: Fired detective still stalking rape victims

Quite possibly the ultimate betrayal:

A Fayetteville police detective fired last year over inappropriate messages sent to women who had been raped has been charged with later tapping into a police department database to obtain information about the women.

Paul George Matrafailo III, 34, of 2816 Ally Rayven Drive, was arrested Monday on a felony charge of unauthorized access of government computers.

Needless to say, it takes a special kind of @$$hole to stalk a rape victim, and that level of personal (disgusting) behavior could not go unnoticed by co-workers and supervisors. I'm not just speculating about that, he was actually reprimanded for similar behavior a year before he was fired:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Foxes in the environmental hen house

It's much worse than you thought it was:

David Dunlap previously served as a policy chief at Koch Industries, focusing on water and chemical management. Earlier, he served as a vice president of the Chlorine Institute, which represents producers and distributors.

Mr. Dunlap is the top political deputy overseeing E.P.A.’s pollution and toxic chemical research at the Office of Research and Development. Mr. Dunlap helps to review chemicals to determine if they require new restrictions. He has recused himself from work on one particular chemical, formaldehyde, because Koch Industries is a major formaldehyde producer.

The Trump administration's absurd excuse for placing these former lobbyists and industry employees in such critical positions is that, "they know what regulations are harmful to the industry." Protecting the environment and the citizenry is not even on Trump's radar, much less a priority. Here's more of them, if you can stomach it:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The way forward:

This is a great group of young Dems, highly energetic and smart as a whip. Looking forward to seeing them in action.

It's not real: Australia burning image goes viral

I had my suspicions the first time I saw this:

As wildfires continue to burn millions of acres of land in Australia, some social media users are misusing a digital visualization to draw attention to the disaster. One image published on Facebook on Jan. 5 claims to show a satellite view of Australia provided by a NASA satellite.

"Pray for us please," the user wrote alongside the image, which shows bright orange spots where fires are purportedly burning across the continent.

No doubt the fires in Australia are devastating, and may even push some species into extinction. But the proliferation of inaccurate images and news stories may be even more dangerous, if it pushes us to the point we can't believe anything that is reported. Definitely related:

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