We can see the through lines between climate change, polluting industries, and COVID-19 at North Carolina’s numerous factory farms. These farms, which can contain millions of hogs, chickens, and turkeys, struggle to keep hazardous animal waste pits called “lagoons” from repeatedly washing away due to hurricane flooding. Toxic animal waste pollutes river basins and streams, and flows into the Atlantic Ocean, creating algal blooms that harm aquatic ecosystems. In addition, some of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in our area are with Black and Brown factory farm workers who’ve been denied proper protective equipment. Separately, factory farms, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic are all extremely dangerous; but combined, lagoons overflowed by hurricanes and the poor working conditions that sicken workers are killing people, the economy, and the ecosystem.
These problems simply cannot be fixed from the top-down. Zoning is one of the major factors in environmental injustice, and that is (for the most part) a local government function. Zoning maps that were created in the 20th Century are usually only updated every ten years or so, and those updates are "tweaks," mostly focused on expanding population. The inequities built into that system (industrial zones near black neighborhoods) rarely come under scrutiny, and the refusal to zone in unincorporated areas by county commissioners is even worse. It's a major health problem for communities of color, and has gotten worse since the NIH studied it 20 years ago:
The 538-page report sets a range of targets including ensuring that every new car sold by 2035 emits no greenhouse gases, eliminating overall emissions from the power sector by 2040, and all but eliminating the country’s total emissions by 2050.
The package also approaches climate change as a matter of racial injustice. The report cites the police killing of George Floyd in its opening paragraph and goes on to argue that communities of color are also more at risk from the effects of climate change. The report says the government should prioritize minority communities for new spending on energy and infrastructure.
I have been somewhat skeptical of the GND since it was first introduced. Not because of the cost so much, but because of the scope and interlinked priorities. You try to do too many things at once, don't be surprised if none of those things happen. But if you're going to make investments in infrastructure that generate economic opportunities, you should place/target them where they're needed the most. And that is (without a doubt) in minority communities:
The bridge would lead to growth in undisturbed areas along the northern Outer Banks, increase pollution in the sound and surrounding habitat and damage the ecosystem that helps handle storm surge, flooding and sea level rise, according to the suit filed by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and the No Mid-Currituck Bridge Concerned Citizens, among others. The Federal Highway Administration officially approved the project last month following more than 20 years of environmental impact studies, public hearings and delays.
The 6.2-mile, two lane toll bridge would cross the Currituck Sound connecting Corolla and Aydlett and cross a swamp before intersecting with U.S. 158 south of Coinjock. It would cost an estimated $440 million.
I've never driven that route, so I don't know how bad the traffic situation is. It appears to be pretty bad, with vehicles idling for hours as they creep along. But in my opinion, ramping up growth *anywhere* on the Outer Banks is an insanely bad idea, and one healthy storm surge could turn this into a $440 million bridge to nowhere. SELC is (as usual) right on top of this situation, with much better (and cheaper) alternatives to the bridge:
Recently Representative Terry Garrison (District 32) and Representative Michael Wray (District 27) traveled outside of their districts to visit Novozymes – an international corporation with a North American headquarters in Franklinton, NC. Novozymes researches, develops, and produces the biological catalysts for many of the products we use every day; everything from bread and beer to biofuels used in our cars.
The Obama administration recently took an important step by supporting nature-based solutions to combat shoreline erosion. Submit a comment to applaud the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for proposing a new nationwide permit for “living shorelines.” A living shoreline offers a proven and durable bank stabilization alternative to hard infrastructure—such as bulkheads and seawalls—while conserving the natural coastal habitat of fish and marine life, shorebirds, and plants.
1. There is no guarantee energy costs would be lower without the renewable mandates. Over time, costs go up, not down.
2. Access to renewables has put off the need to build new power plants, thus keeping costs lower than they would be as the costs of new plants are paid for by the consumer. The cost of renewable energy may be higher than the cost of standard energy, but the cost of new power plants is much, much higher than the cost of a solar farm.
Solar energy has created 23,000 jobs in North Carolina. Cut the mandates and lose jobs. And this General Assembly is all about jobs.
I retired six months ago (!) and have been trying to decide how to prioritize my political energy. Forty years ago it was easy - feminist issues were the most important thing for me. Obviously, they are still very important. And I'm a big believer that most of the issues I care about are connected.
The Endowment Fund of North Carolina State University said Friday that a deal to sell the 79,000-acre Hofmann Forest near the coast is off after the two firms planning to buy the land couldn't finalize the financial contingencies of the contract.
The research forest will continue to be owned by the endowment fund for the benefit of the university's College of Natural Resources, officials said, adding that the endowment board and the Natural Resources Foundation hope to find another buyer.
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