Thursday News: Toxic ideas


NC REPUBLICAN BILL WOULD ALLOW TVS AND COMPUTERS BE DUMPED IN LANDFILLS: “This is like a bad penny that keeps turning up,” Sen. Mike Woodard, a Durham Democrat, said Wednesday. The worry about electronics in landfills is not just about the space they use, but toxic heavy metals they contain. Michael Scott, director of the Waste Management Division at the state Department of Environmental Quality, said the department would prefer changes to the current electronics recycling program rather than lifting the ban on landfill disposal. The recycling market has ups and downs, he said, but there’s still a market for materials from electronics. The state has six major recyclers, Scott said.

STATE WILL BE MORE INVOLVED IN LOCAL WATER & SEWER OPERATIONS: Water and wastewater system capital costs statewide over the next 20 years are estimated between $17 billion and $26 billion, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality. The department said in a 2017 report that the real number is more likely at the high end of that range, and that was before Hurricane Florence blew through last year, with flooding rains that exposed more problems. In many cases, local systems can't afford the work it will take to keep them operating years down the road. Senate Bill 536 is meant to help these systems evolve and become self-sustaining. The "viable utility reserve" wouldn't just provide rehabilitation grants, but money to connect small systems and create regional ones or to split up larger systems that might make more sense as smaller ones. The bill also lays out a process for these mergers and splits and a process for identifying troubled systems.

CITIZENS PUSH BACK ON RDU ROCK QUARRY DEAL: Opponents of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority’s decision to lease airport property for a quarry are continuing to urge local elected officials to intervene while the stone company tells them that’s not necessary. They note that the lease with Wake Stone Corp. was drafted behind closed doors and approved without public input. They maintain that state law requires that the four local governments that own the airport — Raleigh, Durham and Durham and Wake counties — be involved in the decision. “Normally, a zoning process would come into play to evaluate the appropriateness of putting an industrial mining operation in a recreation district,” said David Anderson of the cyclists group, known as TORC. “The critical and needed question I think you should be asking is, ‘Is a new rock quarry on your public lands in the public’s best interest?’ ... It is Raleigh, not RDU Airport Authority, that needs to evaluate this decision on the broader merits and the impact beyond the airport.”

TRUMP PULLS A PRO WRESTLER STUNT WITH CONGRESSIONAL DEMS: Usually, when President Trump is really steamed, he vents his spleen over a morning of disjointed tweets — a slow-mo meltdown. On Wednesday, it was the live-action movie version — on fast forward. Trump, ever the director and star of his own White House movie, staged his outburst in two acts. Act 1: Blow up a White House meeting with Democratic lawmakers that was over before the first handshake. Bye-bye, Infrastructure Day. Act 2: Stride to a podium at a hastily arranged Rose Garden news conference to say he won’t work with Democrats on infrastructure or anything else while they pursue the “investigation track.” What set the president off was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) saying earlier Wednesday that Trump has engaged in a “coverup” related to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation and other probes.

AFTER COURT RULINGS, TRUMP'S FINANCIAL SHENANIGANS ARE CLOSER TO BEING EXPOSED: A federal judge in Manhattan ruled against a request from President Trump to block his longtime lender, Deutsche Bank, from complying with congressional subpoenas seeking his detailed financial records. In Albany, New York lawmakers approved a bill that would allow Congress to obtain Mr. Trump’s state tax returns. Those actions came two days after a federal judge in Washington ruled against Mr. Trump’s bid to quash another congressional subpoena to get his accounting firm to hand over his tax returns and other financial documents. The court rulings and the New York legislation represent the most serious attempts to pierce the veil that surrounds Mr. Trump’s finances. They increase the odds that congressional Democrats, who have become more vocal in their calls to undertake impeachment proceedings against the president, could enter such a fray with ample ammunition about Mr. Trump’s business dealings.



Deeply interested in the Deutsche Bank stuff...

Using a charity organization to launder money is right smack in the middle of RICO territory, and even if the US DOJ doesn't want to get involved, the State of New York seems more than ready to move forward with a criminal investigation. Republicans in the Senate would have very little room to dodge their responsibilities if that happened.