NC GOP

Coal Ash Wednesday: Trump EPA rule delays closures until 2038

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Coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler has a special place in hell waiting for him:

A coalition of nine environmental groups is suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a rule that extends the life of giant pits of toxic coal sludge, risking contamination of nearby water sources.

The July rule allows for the more than 400 coal ash pits across the nation, where coal residue is mixed with liquid and stored in open-air, often unlined ponds, to stay open as late as 2038.

We can't be shed of this monster soon enough. While it remains to be seen how much Duke Energy will try to take advantage of this, I have a hunch it will depend on if they're allowed to fleece ratepayers for cleaning up their own mess or not. A few words from Earthjustice:

Monumental upheaval: Vance obelisk to be removed in Asheville

Honoring slave owners was never a good idea:

The Buncombe County Commissioners voted 7-0 on Monday to remove the obelisk erected more than a century ago in an Asheville square to honor Zebulon Vance, a Civil War officer and North Carolina governor who owned slaves, news sources reported. The Asheville City Council was scheduled to vote on whether to accept the recommendation on Tuesday.

In November, nine of the 12 members of the Vance Monument Task Force voted to remove the Vance monument. Two of the task force members called for repurposing the monument.

In place of my normal self-righteous rant, I will simply let Zebulon Vance himself explain why this monument needs to be removed:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The Board of Elections should never have allowed that elevator picture in the first place. She didn't have to campaign hard during election season, because her smiling face was etched into everybody's memory,

Climate Change Chronicles: Warmest November in recorded history

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If we keep breaking these records we're going to break the planet:

Scientists with the Copernicus Climate Change Service said that global temperatures in November were 0.1 degree Celsius (about 0.2 degree Fahrenheit) above the previous record-holders, in 2016 and 2019. November 2020 was 0.8 degree Celsius (or 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average from 1981 to 2010.

Warm conditions persisted over large swaths of the planet, with temperatures the highest above average across Northern Europe and Siberia, as well as the Arctic Ocean. Much of the United States was warmer than average as well.

Considering that Northern Europe, Siberia, and Northern Canada have massive quantities of methane stored in the permafrost, saying this is "not good news" is a huge understatement. As if that were not enough, we're only a few weeks away from the auctioning of oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR):

Justin Parmenter sets the record straight on GOP critics of online learning

Hypocrisy is their middle name:

In the case of Craig Horn, who has served a full decade in the House, it’s particularly ironic to hear criticism of online education efforts. Last year, rather than using his leadership position to call on the General Assembly to commit resources to removing barriers to in-person Pre-K attendance, Horn championed the shockingly bad idea of having 4 year-old children of poverty attend virtual Pre-K. Keep in mind, that was before anyone had even heard of COVID-19.

Numerous studies have shown that access to Pre-K vastly increases a child's performance in later school years, but it's the flipside of that coin that many Republicans are really opposed to: The ability of young mothers to get back into the workforce while their child is attending. And the fact many of those young mothers are black is also on their minds, no matter what arguments they concoct to distract from that. For those who haven't had to worry about child care for a long time, it now costs north of $1,000 per month (my daughter paid $1,250 in 2020). More from Justin:

Federal Appeals Court overturns ban on Voter ID in NC

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Using a bad argument to accuse somebody else of using a bad argument:

The 4th Circuit ruling puts aside arguments by civil rights groups that sued over the law. They contended, in part, that the current voter ID rules can’t be carried out because previous courts declared Republicans approved a 2013 voter ID law with intentional racial discrimination in mind.

“The outcome hinges on the answer to a simple question: How much does the past matter?” Circuit Judge Julius Richardson wrote in the opinion, citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision. “A legislature’s past acts do not condemn the acts of a later legislature, which we must presume acts in good faith.”

The thing is, that "later legislature" is composed of many of the same bad actors that wrote the 2013 law that was struck down. Phil Berger, David Lewis (who resigned this previous Summer after lying to a bank official), Warren Daniel, and several other lesser ticks that have burrowed into the legislative body. Their goal (vote suppression) has not changed one iota from seven years ago, and they have literally never acted in good faith. Back to the judges:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: The final days of Andrew Wheeler

Moving to cripple the Biden administration's corrective measures:

Current and former E.P.A. staff and advisers close to the transition said Mr. Biden’s team has focused on preparing a rapid assault on the Trump administration’s deregulatory legacy and re-establishing air and water protections and methane emissions controls.

Racing against those efforts is Mr. Wheeler, who has a long list of priorities that aides and confidants said he is determined to complete before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. He has also maneuvered legally to erect time-consuming hurdles that Mr. Biden will have to clear to unwind some Trump administration policies.

While I find much comfort in knowing there are many career employees in the EPA who are actively opposing Wheeler at this juncture, I fear it will get ugly before it's finally over in late January. Republicans would refer to these folks as "Deep State" operatives, but I prefer the term "Fifth Column." They are fighting for the integrity of the Agency, and for the health and well-being of American citizens. I'm sure many will say they should have done so sooner, but the only "outsiders" who wield influence in Trump's administration are industry lobbyists and conspiracy theorists. Being fired takes you off the gameboard completely. Back to Wheeler's crusade to destroy the environment:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

I wish her congratulations also. But unless she can exert some pressure on Phil Berger to pull his head out of his ass and work with the Governor (and the NC House), this won't even leave a smudge on the glass ceiling.

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