Saturday News: Toxic legacy


FIRST DUPONT, NOW HONEYWELL: DECADES OF POLLUTING THE CAPE FEAR: Federal authorities say they've reached a proposed settlement with two companies for the cleanup of a former chemical plant near the Cape Fear River. The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release Thursday that the settlement was reached with Honeywell International Inc. and International Paper Co. The companies have agreed to treat, store and dispose of soils and sediments contaminated by metals that include mercury and PCBs. The settlement says the from 1963 to 2000, the LCP-Holtrachem plant made chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, liquid chlorine, hydrogen gas, liquid bleach and hydrochloric acid at the plant in Riegelwood in Columbus County, adjacent to the Cape Fear River. A federal court must approve the settlement.

BILL FILED IN NCGA TO BAN THE PRACTICE OF CONVERSION THERAPY FOR LGBTQ CITIZENS: When Sam Brinton, who uses they/them pronouns, went to “conversion therapy,” Brinton was told the government had killed all the other gay children in the country so they couldn’t spread AIDS. Brinton’s “therapy” escalated to electroshock therapy to create negative associations with any kind of homosexuality. Conversion therapy, which is legal in most of the country, is any set of treatments or therapies designed to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The exact methods vary, including talk therapy to practices like sleep deprivation, starvation and shock therapy. The Mental Health Protection Act, a recently introduced bill, would make North Carolina the next state to ban the practice for minors. This bill, HB 516, would designate conversion therapy “unprofessional conduct,” and counselors, social workers or other professionals practicing it could lose their license. “I am a survivor of conversion therapy, and I use the word survivor very, very specifically,” Brinton told a group gathered at Durham’s Northstar Church of the Arts on Wednesday.

ORANGE COUNTY AND SILER CITY HIT WITH SMALL TORNADOES DURING STORM: Severe storms that spawned several reports of tornadoes left behind damage across the Triangle on Friday, but no injuries were reported. There were reports of tornadoes in eight counties, meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. Tornadoes were confirmed to have touched down in Smithfield in Johnston County as well as in the Whitecross area in Orange County. The National Weather Service confirmed Friday night that an EF-1 tornado briefly touched down outside Siler City during the storm. "We had two barns that were blown down, a lot of trees blown down, they had fence lines on them. We have cows everywhere," said Roger Nutter with Maple View Farms. Nutter said one cow was injured and one person sustained minor injuries as a result of the storm. "She was in the barn when it hit and a board came down and bumped her in the head," he said. Todd McGee, the Orange County, community relations official said the county has received reports of damage, mainly in the area of Interstate 40 at Exit 261.

CONGRESSIONAL DEMS ENGAGE IN TUG-OF-WAR ON WHETHER TO IMPEACH OR INVESTIGATE TRUMP: Ramping up the pressure for impeachment Friday were two presidential hopefuls - Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Julián Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary in the Obama administration. “The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty,” Warren said. “That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.” But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her leadership team have tamped down talk of impeachment, with a sense among top Democrats that the Mueller report - which many Democrats see as incriminating in its details of a president trying to undermine the investigation of Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election - has changed nothing when it comes to the impeachment question. Democratic leaders appear to be coalescing around a strategy of continuing their investigations of Trump, while arguing that their constitutional mandate doesn’t necessitate that they impeach the president - even if they agree he broke the law. Rather, they argue that Congress can unearth corrupt information about him - then take it to voters in the 2020 election.

THE MUELLER REPORT IS DRIVING TRUMP EVEN CRAZIER THAN HE WAS: “Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Watch out for people that take so-called ‘notes,’ when the notes never existed until needed.” “Because I never agreed to testify, it was not necessary for me to respond to statements made in the ‘Report’ about me, some of which are total bullshit & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad),” he went on. “This was an Illegally Started Hoax that never should have happened, a…” At that point he stopped and did not finish the thought until eight hours later: “…big, fat waste of time, energy and money.” He went on to vow to go after his pursuers, whom he called “some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even Spying or Treason.”