North Carolina Nixes Part Of The Atlantic Coast Pipeline Proposal

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By Lisa Sorg for The Progressive Pulse – The NC Department of Environmental Quality has rejected the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s erosion and sediment control plan, dealing yet another setback to the $5.5 billion project. In a letter dated Sept. 26, the Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources told the ACP owners it had disapproved the plan, primarily because there was so much missing information. The ACP is co-owned by Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Southeast Energy Company and Piedmont Natural Gas. The utilities have until Oct. 11 to submit a revised plan for consideration. If they want to contest DEQ’s disapproval, they must request an administrative hearing by Nov. 25. ACP’s plan, according to the letter, failed to provide detailed construction sequence and erosion control methods, plus measures required to protect all public and private property from construction damage. DEQ lists the shortcomings of the plan in 17 separate points over three pages. A specific concern for DEQ is the potential damage pipeline construction would have on the Neuse River. The plan, which originally called for open trenching, has been changed to a method known as a cofferdam. A cofferdam is an enclosure placed in a river, for example, that allows the water to be pumped out. However, the Neuse River is a habitat for many threatened or at-risk species, including the Neuse River waterdog, and draining the water could kill them. The utilities have claimed that they would try to collect any key species and relocate them — where, though, they didn’t say.

North Carolina Delays Decision On Atlantic Coast Pipeline

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By Elizabeth Ouzts for Southeast Energy News – Faced with a Monday deadline and a lopsided number of public comments opposing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has delayed until mid-December its decision on whether to permit the controversial project. Without fanfare or press release late yesterday, the state issued a four-page “request for additional information,” part of its duty under the federal Clean Water Act to ensure the natural gas pipeline won’t harm the over 320 rivers and streams and hundreds of acres of wetlands in its path. Pipeline foes hailed the action, which appeared to vindicate a critique they’ve been leveling for months against the project, slated to hug the state’s I-95 corridor and pass through eight eastern North Carolina counties. “The current application leaves out critical information,” said Geoff Gisler, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “There are literally hundreds of streams and wetlands that the company has asked to dig through with hardly any analysis.” The delay followed a series of rowdy hearings and meetings last month that were packed with pipeline opponents, and the receipt of over 9,000 written public comments – 85 percent urging rejection.

North Carolina: The New Model For Conservative Rule – And Progressive Renewal

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By Tyler Norris for NC Policy Watch – My home state was once a model for progress. For half a century, North Carolina was a beacon of moderation in the South, an outlier dubbed the “Dixie Dynamo” as early as the 1960’s for its farsighted reforms and public investments. The state had its share of problems, especially around the pernicious legacy of Jim Crow, but many of its trend lines were positive and generated an infectious optimism. I remember that optimism. Even in Appalachia, my father could start a successful small business, and the public schools offered a quality education. In high school, I was given the opportunity to attend the North Carolina School of Science and Math, founded as the first public school of its kind in the early 1980’s and used as a model for 18 other schools nationally. Opportunities were expanding, barriers to mobility were dropping, and the state’s future looked bright. Today, North Carolina is different. The numbers speak for themselves: the share of workers living in poverty is up from one-in-four in 2000 to every one-in-three today, according to the NC Justice Center – the second highest share of any state. Middle-wage jobs have hollowed outand median income has plunged since 2007.

A Window Into The Horrors Of Our History

A sign held at a protest this week over the "Silent Sam" Confederate monument on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill quotes the racist speech given at its dedication by local industrialist and philanthropist Julian Carr. (Photo by Rodney Dunning via Flickr.)

By Greg Huffman for Facing South – I am a child of the South. I was born in North Carolina, grew up in Catawba County, and have never lived outside the state as an adult. My sister and I joke that we never had a real vacation. Our parents were amateur historians and genealogists and were particularly interested in the Civil War and our family during it. While other kids were at Disney, we were traveling in the family station wagon to pretty much every Civil War battlefield from Pennsylvania to New Orleans, along with the accompanying historic sites, museums, court houses and cemeteries. By age 10, I could rip off a mean tombstone rubbing with charcoal and wax paper. This historical journey culminated in my teens when my mother and a family friend, Joe Hatley, collected and edited the Civil War letters of a common relative. What followed was a published book entitled the “Letters of William F. Wagner.” Wagner was your average Catawba County farmer conscripted into military service by the Confederacy as an enlisted man. He served in the infantry, fought at Gettysburg, was eventually captured, and died in a Northern prison camp in 1864. His letters detail the pain and horrors and loneliness of the war for the men who fought it and the prison where he died.

Protesters Pull Down Confederate Statue At Old Durham County Courthouse

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By Derrick Lewis and Amy Cutler for CBS North Carolina – Around 7:10 p.m. a woman using a ladder climbed the statue of a Confederate soldier and attached a rope around the statue. Moments later, the crowd pulled on the rope and the statue fell. One man quickly ran up and spat on the statue and several others began kicking it. Durham police later said they monitored the protests to make sure they were “safe,” but did not interfere with the statue toppling because it happened on county property. “Because this incident occurred on county property, where county law enforcement officials were staffed, no arrests were made by DPD officers,” Durham Police spokesman Wil Glenn wrote in an email statement. Durham County Sheriff’s deputies videotaped the statue being brought down — but didn’t stop it from happening. After toppling the statue, the protesters started marching. They blocked traffic with authorities trying to stay ahead of them. The protesters made their way down E. Main Street to the site of the new Durham Police Department. In 1924, the Confederate statue was dedicated to Durham.

Lawsuits Against DuPont And Chemours For Contaminating Drinking Water In North Carolina

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By Sharon Lerner for The Intercept – AFTER YEARS of litigation over PFOA, an industrial toxin used to make Teflon and other non-stick and stain-resistant products, in 2009 DuPont introduced GenX. Now the slippery substitute has followed the path of the molecule it replaced, contaminating water near plants in West Virginia and North Carolina, and attracting its own intense legal interest. The lawsuits over PFOA exposed the chemical’s links to several diseases, including kidney and testicular cancer. Like PFOA, also known as C8, GenX is a perfluorinated compound and similarly, was the subject of internal DuPont research showing it poses many of the same health concerns as the original chemical. Also like PFOA, GenX persists indefinitely in the environment. In the past two weeks, two citizens groups in North Carolina announced plans to sue Chemours, the DuPont spinoff company that now makes GenX, over its release of the chemical from its plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority issued a letter of intent to sue both Chemours and DuPont last week over violations of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act over release of GenX into the Cape Fear River, which is a source of drinking water for more than 250,000 people in the Wilmington area.

NC Demonstrators Rally For ‘Independence’ From Fossil Fuels

Activists demand that the COP20 government delegates approve measures to foment investment in renewable energies and eliminate their huge subsidies for fossil fuels. Credit: Joshua Wiese/IPS

By Darren Botelho for ABC News 13 – ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — A protest against Duke Energy brought dozens of demonstrators to Lake Julian on Tuesday. They called for independence from fossil fuels on Independence Day—promoting renewable energy, like wind and solar. “For a long time people have talked about the need for a clean energy revolution in our country. The good news is, in a lot of ways, it’s already underway,” Buncombe County Commissioner Brownie Newman, who spoke at the event, said. Newman helped fire up more than a hundred people at Lake Julian Park. “At our last county commission meeting, with the encouragement of some of the people that are here today, I along with county commissioners Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Ellen Frost, and Al Whitesides proposed to establish a 100 percent clean and renewable goal for Buncombe County,” Newman said. Pro-environmental group Community Roots hosted the event and eventually led the crowd to the water. Tyler Garrison, a board member with Community Roots, then led the paddle towards the Duke Energy plant. “We hope number one we’ll accomplish, which we already have accomplished, a greater sense of solidarity in the community [which we're] all pushing for [and] what we all want to see,” Garrison said, “[to] stop the oppression of the fossil fuel empire that’s currently got their hands around our necks.”

North Carolina Anti-Voting Law Finished By Court Challenges

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By Derrick Robinson for Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued the following statement regarding today’s Supreme Court move which leaves in place the 4th Circuit’s decision regarding North Carolina’s comprehensive voter suppression measure: “The Supreme Court’s move today now renders North Carolina’s law null and void, and brings to close a long and protracted battle over a law deemed one of the most egregious voter suppression measures of its kind,” said Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law president and executive director, Kristen Clarke. “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has left in place the 4th Circuit’s decision finding North Carolina’s draconian voter suppression measure unlawful because it discriminated against minority voters with ‘almost surgical precision.’” “The battle over North Carolina’s law reflects the fallout from the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder which gut a core provision of the Voting Rights Act. Had the Section 5 federal review process remained in place, North Carolina’s discriminatory voting law would likely have been blocked at the outset and never would have gone into effect.

NAACP Calls For Boycott Of North Carolina

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By Staff of NAACP – RALEIGH, NC—The NAACP Board of Directors announced a resolution calling for the discussion of the first steps of an international economic boycott of the state of North Carolina in response to actions of an all-white legislative caucus, which unconstitutionally designed racially-discriminatory gerrymandered districts, enacted a monster voter suppression law, passed Senate Bill 4 stripping the incoming Governor of power and passed House Bill 2. HB 2 is anti-transgender, anti-worker and anti-access to the state court for employment discrimination. NAACP National President/CEO Cornell William Brooks and North Carolina State President and National Board Member Rev. Dr. William Barber II, will hold a press conference today (Friday, Feb. 24th @ 11:00 am) at the NC General Assembly to discuss the economic boycott and rally supporters for direct actions against the legislators.

North Carolina County Sued For Discriminating Against Black Voters

Voters line up during early voting in Raleigh, N.C. Fourteen states had new voting or registration restrictions in place for the 2016 presidential election, raising concerns that minority voters in particular would have a harder time accessing the ballot box. CREDIT: AP Photo/Gerry Broome

By Kira Lerner for Think Progress – As Attorney General Jeff Session’s shifts the Department of Justice’s focusfrom protecting voting rights to investigating claims of nonexistent fraud, the rights of an increasing number of minority voters will likely go unprotected. But in that vacuum, a growing number of organizations and advocacy groups have said they will step up to protect voters. On Monday, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed the first major federal voting rights lawsuit of the year, alleging that Jones County, North Carolina’s voting system discriminates against African-American residents. Jones County is roughly one-third black, but the black population has not elected a candidate-of-choice to the Board of Commissions in over two decades. According to the lawsuit, this is due to the county’s at-large voting system — a Jim Crow-era tactic that allows localities with white majorities to dilute black voting power.

RESIST: 80,000 March In Raleigh For Voting Rights, Democracy & #MoralResistance

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By Staff of Common Dreams – Outrage over the Trump administration helped bring tens of thousands of marchers to downtown Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday. Trump and the policies he will try to enact with the GOP-led Congress on immigration, health care and civil rights motivated many at Saturday’s march. Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP branch and leader of the “Moral Monday” movement, said in a speech: “A racist and greedy extremism that came to power in North Carolina four years ago now controls the White House and the Congress in D.C. Millions are afraid.

Video Shows NC Police Officer Slamming High School Girl To Ground

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By Monique Judge for The Root – A police officer in Rolesville, N.C., is on administrative leave after video posted to Twitter on Tuesday showed him picking up a female high school student and slamming her violently to the ground. The eight-second video shows a group of students at Rolesville High School crowded together, and then the officer slams the girl to the ground. After throwing her to the ground, the officer picks her up and leads her off with her hands behind her back. Police told WTVD/ABC11 that a fight occurred at the high school earlier that morning. A second video sent in to WTVD shows the fight that led up to the incident with the officer.

Rev. Barber Calls For Boycott In NC After GOP Power Grab

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By Amanda Terkel for The Huffington Post – The Rev. William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP and a leading voice on civil rights, is calling for a national economic boycott of his state due in part to its General Assembly’s failure to repeal the anti-LGBTQ law known as HB2. “We did it in South Carolina when they raised the Confederate flag,” he said. “We must do it, we believe, as this new legislature is trying to raise a new Confederacy, in policy, right here in North Carolina.” Barber said Thursday that his chapter would draft a letter to the national board of the NAACP later this month and ask for a boycott.

Can North Carolina’s Moral Mondays Movement Spark New Civil Rights Fire?

Rev. William Barber, center, argues his right to enter the House Speaker's office at the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C. AP / Gerry Broome

By William Barber II for Ebony – Donald Trump’s triumph across the South and Midwest, which won him the Electoral College and the White House, did not extend to Governor Pat McCrory in my home state of North Carolina. After fighting his loss with false accusations of voter fraud, McCrory finally conceded in early December, becoming the only incumbent GOP governor in America to lose reelection. But partisan extremists in the North Carolina legislature called a special session last week to strip power from McCrory’s opponent, Democrat Roy Cooper.

North Carolina Is No Longer Classified As A Democracy

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By Andrew Reynolds for The News and Observer – In 2005, in the midst of a career of traveling around the world to help set up elections in some of the most challenging places on earth – Afghanistan, Burma, Egypt, Lebanon, South Africa, Sudan and Yemen, among others – my Danish colleague, Jorgen Elklit, and I designed the first comprehensive method for evaluating the quality of elections around the world. Our system measured 50 moving parts of an election process and covered everything from the legal framework to the polling day and counting of ballots. In 2012 Elklit and I worked with Pippa Norris of Harvard University, who used the system as the cornerstone of the Electoral Integrity Project.