MASSIVE GROWTH IN POULTRY FARMS PLAGUE NC'S MINORITY COMMUNITIES: Environmental groups that mapped poultry operations in the state found the quickest growth in poultry operations from 2012 to 2019 was in counties with substantial Black, Latino and Native American populations. A report released Thursday by the Environmental Working Group and the Waterkeeper Alliance estimates that numbers of chickens and turkeys in Robeson, Sampson, and Duplin counties grew 36%, from 83 million to 113 million, with the fastest growth in Robeson. Excluding those three counties, the number of chickens and turkeys grown on industrial farms grew 17%, the report said. The environmental groups called for more oversight of poultry operations, starting with how they manage the millions of tons of waste produced each year.
UTILITIES COMMISSION EXTENDS CUTOFF MORATORIUM UNTIL SEPTEMBER: For-profit companies, like Duke Energy, are now bound by a new order from the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which extends the coronavirus pandemic shutoff moratorium until September and requires them to give customers 12 months to pay off overdue balances. But that doesn't apply to municipal-owned utilities or to co-operatives that are much smaller than the big for-profit companies but together provide water and electricity to millions of North Carolinians. The moratorium on those shutoffs ends this week, though an executive order on the issue from Gov. Roy Cooper says these utilities have to offer people six-month payment plans to make up what they owe. "If somebody is offered a six-month repayment plan and they comply with the plan and resume making their regular payments, then, yes, they cannot shut anyone off during that time period," Al Ripley, a consumer protection advocate at the North Carolina Justice Center, said Thursday.
TONY TATA'S NOMINATION HEARING CANCELED AFTER NUMEROUS COMPLAINTS: Tata, an author and Fox News commentator, also served as the head of the North Carolina Department of Transportation from 2013 to 2015 under former Gov. Pat McCrory. He led the Wake County Public School System from December 2010 to September 2012, when he was fired by the Democratic-led school board. Tata’s nomination has faced criticism from outside groups, in particular the NAACP and Muslim groups. Some Republican senators have expressed concern about the nomination as well, The Washington Post reported. “This cancelled hearing shows that deep incompetence and naked bigotry can still be disqualifying in Washington, but only when people of conscience organize to hold their senators accountable. Tata does not have the votes and the White House knows it,” said Scott Simpson, the public advocacy director for Muslim Advocates, in a statement Thursday morning. In 2018 tweets, Tata called Islam “the most oppressive violent religion I know of” and called President Barack Obama “a terrorist leader.”
LOUIS DEJOY (ALDONA WOS' HUSBAND) IS ERODING THE POSTAL SERVICE, JEOPARDIZING MAIL-IN BALLOTS: The U.S. Postal Service is experiencing days-long backlogs of mail across the country after a top Trump donor running the agency put in place new procedures described as cost-cutting efforts, alarming postal workers who warn that the policies could undermine their ability to deliver ballots on time for the November election. As President Trump ramps up his unfounded attacks on mail balloting as being susceptible to widespread fraud, postal employees and union officials say the changes implemented by Trump fundraiser-turned-postmaster general Louis DeJoy are contributing to a growing perception that mail delays are the result of a political effort to undermine absentee voting. The backlog comes as the president, who is trailing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the polls, has escalated his efforts to cast doubt about the integrity of the November vote, which is expected to yield record numbers of mail ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic. DeJoy, a North Carolina logistics executive who donated more than $2 million to GOP political committees in the past four years, approved changes that took effect July 13 that the agency said were aimed at cutting costs for the debt-laden mail service. They included prohibiting overtime pay, shutting down sorting machines early and requiring letter carriers to leave mail behind when necessary to avoid extra trips or late delivery on routes.
REPUBLICANS ACROSS THE BOARD REJECT TRUMP'S "DELAY THE ELECTION" TWEET: Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, rivals for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination who have since become staunch Trump supporters, both dismissed the idea that the date for the election could change. Senator Lindsey Graham, Mr. Trump’s foremost public defender in the Senate, said there would be a secure vote in November. And officials in key swing states showed little interest in engaging on the topic. “We’re going to have an election, it’s going to be legitimate, it’s going to be credible, it’s going to be the same as it’s always been,” Mr. Rubio told reporters at the Capitol in Washington. Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, a sometime critic of the president who is eyeing the top ranks of the House leadership, said: “We are not moving the date of the election. The resistance to this idea among Republicans is overwhelming.” For all the eye-rolling dismissals among Republicans, Mr. Trump’s remarks irritated and embarrassed his allies — and represented the latest illustration of how he is not only complicating his own campaign but also compounding his party’s challenge this fall.