NC GOP

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:

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.

Soleimani's assassination was a tactical mistake as well as a moral one

But Trump doesn't have the mental capacity to understand that:

Iran’s government faced widespread protests in November over rising prices, with many apparently also outraged by Iran’s foreign spending on interventions in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and other countries while its own economy falters.

More than 300 people were killed in the anti-government protests, according to rights organization Amnesty International. During the violence and in the days that followed, Iranian authorities blocked access to the internet. Soleimani’s killing, however, helped rally the public around the leadership again.

That wasn't the first time Iranian citizens had engaged in widespread protests over economic issues in the last 15-20 years, but it was by far the deadliest. And it may have been the first time foreign interventions by (that's right) Soleimani's Quds Forces have been at the top of their list of complaints. While the government cracked down harshly on these protests, it is somewhere between possible and likely they would have curbed some of those foreign activities to avoid future domestic unrest. Something similar happened with their dockworkers' strike a few years ago. But setting that aside for the moment, it also appears Soleimani was engaged in diplomatic activities on this particular trip, in an effort to ease tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia:

Trump threatens to Veto HR 535 PFAS regulatory bill

Breaking his own promise to control these chemicals:

The Trump administration threatened to veto H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act, which would set deadlines for EPA to reduce ongoing PFAS releases and set a drinking water standard for two notorious PFAS chemicals. Last February, David Ross, the Environmental Protection Agency’s assistant administrator for water, pledged to Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the top Democrat on the Senate environment panel, that “by the end of this year,” the agency “will propose a regulatory determination, which is the next step in the Safe Drinking Water Act process” for establishing an enforceable legal limit.

But although the EPA has sent a regulatory determination to the White House, administration officials have blocked efforts to require drinking water utilities to filter PFAS from tap water.

It's an election year, so you'll have to excuse me for moving politics to the forefront of this conversation. But this issue is in the top five of things that directly affect North Carolinians, and those voters need to know just how little Trump cares about the health and well-being of their families. Every day that passes in the absence of EPA oversight is a gift to polluters like Chemours, and a curse to the rest of the state. But it isn't just a NC problem, some 100 million Americans may be dealing with these chemicals in their drinking water:

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