Archive for Environment


“Breathtaking in its scope”

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Senate Republican leaders are moving quickly on a proposal to fire all current members of key oversight and advisory boards.

Introduced in Senate Rules Committee Tuesday morning, Senate Bill 10 would effectively fire all members of the Utilities Commission, Environmental Management Commission, Coastal Resources Commission, Lottery Commission and Wildlife Resources Commission.

Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican lawmakers would then be able to reappoint board members who agree with their philosophy, essentially clearing out Democrats and other dissenters whose terms haven’t yet expired.
After just 15 minutes of discussion, the bill passed easily along party lines.

After the meeting, Stein called the proposal a “power grab” that’s “breathtaking in its scope,” noting that many of the boards in the bill’s cross-hairs were created to protect consumers, injured workers and the environment.

“They’re going after everything so they can put their stamp on it,” Stein said. “Commissions are supposed to be independent; they’re not supposed to be ideological. And I fear they’re trying to politicize state government in a way that will hurt North Carolinians.”

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The NCGA Regrets To Inform You…

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Republicans will regret merging water system, MSD, writes Steve Rasmussen in the new Mountain Xpress.

If Reps. Tim Moffitt, Chuck McGrady and the NC General Assembly succeed in expropriating Asheville’s water system, the mandated merger with MSD will lead to more urban sprawl, Rasmussen predicts, once control of water and sewer line extension is in the hands of a regional authority. The move will spawn a political arms race on a new battlefield for developers and smart growth supporters. Rasmussen writes,

Crowded, contentious public hearings will routinely overflow MSD’s meeting room. Green activists will accuse board members of rubber-stamping applications from greedy out-of-state developers; tea party activists will claim the board is conspiring with the U.N. to impose Agenda 21. Brutal political machinations will ensue, fueled by costly fundraising campaigns to elect city council members, town aldermen and county commissioners who’ll make the board appointments each side wants. In comparison, the intergovernmental bickering that tore apart our Regional Water Agency a decade ago will look like a backyard pool party.

Messrs. Moffitt and McGrady send their regrets.

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For those of you paying attention to the changes in our NC state executive offices, here’s another brick in the wall:

Veteran lawmaker Rep. Mitch Gillespie – who in 2011 literally drew a bulls-eye target on his legislative office window aimed at the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources – will resign next month to become an assistant secretary of the agency.
Gillespie spearheaded a slew of environmental regulatory reforms in last year’s session, and said he felt he had good relations with environmental advocates. But Gillespie comes from the business side of the equation, having worked in surveying, civil engineering and land development.

He has been supported by the state’s energy company PACs.

Your Asheville City Council reconvenes on December eleventh to deliberate and decision-make. After the jump you’ll find the agenda. Have a look. Please offer your thoughts, questions, observations, and exclamations in the comments.

There’s a lot in this one – The BID Board, a new conservation easement for the watershed, AB Tech, the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Plan, and more. Big stuff. Thanks for being engaged.

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Bioneers Conference

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Lenoir Rhyne University and New Belgium Brewing invite everyone to come participate this weekend. From their website:

A Taste of Bioneers Conference

Date: November 2, 2012 – November 3, 2012
Time: Friday 6:00pm – 9:00pm / Saturday 10:00am – 6:00pm
Location: 36 Montford Avenue, Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville

What is sustainability, and how are we making it happen here in Asheville? The Taste of Bioneers will feature streaming plenary sessions from the National Bioneers Conference as well as panels made up of local leaders in sustainability from right here in Asheville.

See the schedule, speakers, panels, and activities after the jump.

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Categories : Local, Sustainability
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Be A Part Of It

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The Health, Wellness, and Education Cluster of the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council is inviting the whole community this Friday. Facebook event page is here. This is a must-attend for anyone who is involved in local food or who wants to learn more about area food systems. Producers, processors, distributors, educators – We’re all working together to make Asheville and Buncombe County a food secure community with a thriving economy. Come be a part of it.

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There will be a Dept. of Transportation hearing on rules for (SB183) at the Asheville Public Works Bldg, Rm A-109 from 7-9 pm on Monday, Aug 13. SB183 is also known, in that special government allcaps way, as


There are a lot of improvements necessary to keep this bill from blighting our countryside with clearcuts and too many billboards.

Should the DOT assess fair market value of trees to be cut & have billboard companies reimburse the state for this amount? Should billboard companies pay DOT’s administrative costs for implementation of this law? Should DOT rules protect our stream banks & local environmental ordinances? Should the NCDOT allow local governments to have notification, input and right of appeal?

The answer for me, for all four questions, is yes. But unless they hear from you, they may not think that anyone really gives a rip. In addition to showing up and letting them know where you stand, you can also leave written comments here.

Categories : Action, Environment, Local
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In the big July 14 Republican Congressional runoff, Mark Meadows and Vance Patterson are squaring off for the privilege of facing Democratic nominee Hayden Rogers. They both recently attended a Tea Party forum to elaborate on their stances. The resulting report from the AC-T brings a lot of information voters ought to know, and the most interesting piece of information is that both candidates believe there is a United Nations conspiracy to take your freedom from you through sustainability. That conspiracy is named Agenda 21.

The Cherokee County 9-12 Project starkly explains the threat at their website:

We can no longer accept any compromise in our battle to stop this environmental agenda whose thinly-disguised goal is to create a socialist one world order run by self-appointed arrogant elitists under the banner of the United Nations.

Good Lord! The United Nations stealing my property rights? Arrogant UN Socialists environmentalizing my freedom? These must be the ravings of a wild-eyed fringe of the Republican Party. Thank goodness the leadership doesn’t go in for that kind of nuttiness. AC-T:

Mark Meadows, a candidate in the July 17 Republicans runoff for the 11th Congressional District, said at a forum that a U.N. attack on U.S. sovereignty through Agenda 21 “is not around every corner, but it’s real.”

His opponent, Vance Patterson, claimed during a Henderson County Tea Party forum that “Agenda 21 takes away your land, and when you lose your land, you lose your freedom.”

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Fracked and Mutated

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As if you didn’t have enough to worry about already, “The Poison Beneath Us” from Pro Publica, a detailed report on groundwater contamination from injection wells, and some unrelated cattle deaths in Texas:

Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation’s geology as an invisible dumping ground.

No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millennia.

There are growing signs they were mistaken.

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From Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — A critical document from President Barack Obama’s free trade negotiations with eight Pacific nations was leaked online early Wednesday morning, revealing that the administration intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations, contradicting prior promises.


Under the agreement currently being advocated by the Obama administration, American corporations would continue to be subject to domestic laws and regulations on the environment, banking and other issues. But foreign corporations operating within the U.S. would be permitted to appeal key American legal or regulatory rulings to an international tribunal. That international tribunal would be granted the power to overrule American law and impose trade sanctions on the United States for failing to abide by its rulings.

No surprise here. This has been a long time coming. International corporations have been challenging “the little people’s” right to control their own destinies for decades now. How dare you peasants pass national or local ordinances controlling what happens in your own backyard?

Don’t get me started.

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