Wednesday News: A long time coming


DEQ FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST CHEMOURS FOR CONTAMINATING CAPE FEAR RIVER: The plant in question is now owned by Chemours, a spin-off of DuPont, which previously owned the plant. State lawmakers and others have accused both companies of secretly dumping pollutants into the Cape Fear River from the plant, located south of Fayetteville, for nearly 40 years. The lawsuit filed Tuesday against Chemours by Cooper’s environmental department seeks “to address environmental contamination caused by Chemours’ release of certain chemical manufacturing byproducts” into the Cape Fear River from its Fayetteville Works plant, the state’s lawyers wrote.

TILLIS AND BURR ON THE HOT SEAT OVER TRUMP'S DACA REVERSAL: While thousands of people around the country rallied against President Donald Trump’s action to revoke the DACA program Tuesday, hundreds gathered outside of North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis’s office Tuesday. Tillis is promising to take action, preparing new legislation that would provide a legal path to citizenship for people who were brought to the United States illegally as children. “Immigration policy must be set through legislation, not executive orders. That was the fundamental flaw underpinning DACA and the reason it’s highly unlikely to survive a legal challenge,” Tillis said in a statement. Senator Tillis said today he'll file a bill next week that would offer a pathway to legal status for Dreamers, but important details are not yet clear. Senator Richard Burr released a statement calling DACA unlawful and praising the repeal.

ANTI-IMMIGRANT JEFF SESSIONS TRIES TO LINK DREAMERS TO TERRORISM: “There is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws," Sessions said during his announcement. “Failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence, and even terrorism." A Justice Department spokesperson told Buzzfeed that the terrorism comments were “not DACA-focused.” But Sessions remarks still raised questions among critics of the administration’s immigration policies—particularly since the DACA program covers young people brought to the U.S. as children, who have little to no criminal record. “That was right out of the nativist playbook,” Frank Sharry, executive director of immigration reform group America's Voice, told Buzzfeed, calling Sessions comments “a distortion and a lie that is regularly spewed by talk radio.”

DESCENDANT OF ROBERT E. LEE FORCED OUT OF NC CHURCH FOR HIS ANTI-RACISM STANCE: The Rev. Robert W. Lee IV issued a statement that he’s resigning from Bethany United Church of Christ in Winston-Salem. He’s a distant nephew of the Confederate general. He said that some members of the church were uncomfortable with his remarks praising the Black Lives Matter movement during the Aug. 27 MTV Video Music Awards. He was introducing the mother of a woman killed during demonstrations over a Robert E. Lee statue in Virginia. Lee said he resigned after the church decided to vote on his tenure. Church leaders didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment Tuesday.

WHITE CHRISTIANS ARE NOW IN THE MINORITY IN THE UNITED STATES: The share of Americans who identify as white and Christian has dropped below 50 percent, a transformation fueled by immigration and by growing numbers of people who reject organized religion altogether, according to a new survey released Wednesday. The trends identified in the survey are fueling anxiety about the place of Christians in society, especially among evangelicals, alarmed by support for gay marriage and by the increasing share of Americans — about one-quarter — who don't identify with a faith group. President Donald Trump, who repeatedly promised to protect the religious liberty of Christians, drew 80 percent of votes by white evangelicals, a constituency that remains among his strongest supporters.