Archive for Water
What’s that saying about never going full on something or other?
(Video courtesy of dixiegirlz.)
As if the legislature hand not pissed off enough citizens in North Carolina, this item has been flying largely under the radar. Hold onto your groundwater, people, these frackers mean business and they mean to force you into theirs:
Known as compulsory pooling, or forced pooling, the policy allows drillers to tap local natural gas, even if property owners don’t want drillers probing under their homes and farms. Critics compare it to a government’s right to seize private property for the public good, except in this case the parties claiming rights to the land would be for-profit businesses.
“That’s just unfair,” said Therese Vick, a community organizer for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. “They’re taking control of your property – your neighbors, the government and a commercial interest – and making you sell your resource.”
The idea is not a new one and has been on the books since 1945, just rarely used writes the News & Observer. Now energy companies want to. The delicately named Compulsory Pooling Study Group will be holding a public meeting Wednesday in Raleigh and forwarding recommendations to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. It may be the last public meeting before the issue moves to the legislature.
Wonder ow all those “No Zoning” folks out in our bright, red counties will respond once they find out control of their their property has been sold to the highest donors?
Don’t forget, those frackers will need water to frack with. Lots of it.
Transcript of exchange between Chris Pelly and Tim Moffitt – August 5, 2013. Taken from video shot at the event by another attendee. It’s my understanding that neither Councilman Pelly nor Representative Moffitt were aware they were being recorded.
Pelly: If we wanted to join the Culture and Recreation Authority, does the current legislation allow that to occur?
Moffitt: No, we took that away from you. When you filed your lawsuit, we… You did three things: First of all you filed your lawsuit, ok, so we’re not going to let you file the lawsuit on this side and sue the state and charge your taxpayers money but at the same time be the benefactor of this because it’s going to cost people outside the city some of their hard-earned money, so until the lawsuit is settled, we took the Authority away from the city.
Pelly: And does any other city in Buncombe County have the right to join the Authority?
Moffitt: Right now Buncombe County has asked for two years to not allow anybody to join. So they feel it’s going to take two years to kind of get the foundation set, for them to undertake that. So the limitations are going to be based on what the County is willing to do.
Pelly: And there’s a lot I could argue with you about about the issue of the water system, but this isn’t the place to do that…
Moffitt: Well, you know the history I’m talking about, Chris, you can find it. The history you’re talking about, I’m not sure.
Pelly: I have just one question for you.
Pelly: Later on today there’s going to be a rally in downtown Asheville, your hometown…
Pelly: …and the newspapers are estimating thousands of people are going to be there.
Pelly: Does that give you pause that….
Pelly: decisions you’re making in the legislature are concerning people?
Pelly: Does it concern you that 86% of Asheville residents voted against the water referendum, for the water referendum that retains the water system?
Moffitt: What really concerns me is that you would actually put a referendum on the ballot that was not about the issue that was actually being discussed. As far as the folks that are participating in Moral Monday, we predicted this would happen in 2011 when it started in Wisconsin and Michigan. We predicted it would be 18 months before it hit North Carolina because North Carolina is considered a purple state. So North Carolina is seen by the unions as a state that they can flip, and if you go back and look at the chatter regarding Moral Mondays, it’s really a union driven event and doesn’t really…
Pelly: Does it affect the future of education and voter identification or any of those issues?
Moffitt: It affects people’s opinions on those things, but a lot of those opinions are not based on fact.
In an editorial this morning, the Greenville, NC “Reflector” came out strongly in support of Asheville’s fight to retain local control over its drinking water.
As you may recall, language was added to H94, an environmental bill sponsored by Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, language intended (apparently) to strengthen the state’s legal case in its lawsuit with Asheville. The change put Greenville’s water system directly in the crosshairs of Rep. Tim Moffitt’s water grab. As Barry Summers recounted last week, in the NC Senate, Greenville was not amused:
The entire leadership of the town of Greenville, NC was recognized in the gallery, by the Senator that represents them. They are clearly there to give the Senate the stinkeye over the possibility that their water system may get grabbed up in Rep. Moffitt/McGrady/Ramsey’s theft of Asheville’s water.
Greenville got at least a temporary reprieve when the language was stripped.
But the Reflector’s editors, at least, have not forgotten who put a target on their backs or why. In its stinging editorial, Greenville’s newspaper spoke out against the seizure of Asheville’s municipal assets, calling the state’s actions “reckless trampling on municipal authority” and a “worrisome precedent” that could come back to bite Greenville again. The paper urged citizens to not sit by idle and pretend the situation has returned to normal.
No, something is rotten in Raleigh when lawmakers overreach their authority and claim municipal resources for the state without recompense. Just as Greenville should be comfortable in its control over its water supplies so too should other communities. The overreach exhibited in this case cannot be allowed to stand, and this city should be a vocal proponent of Asheville as it continues this fight.
If you’ve noticed slowness on ScruHoo over the last few days and weeks (or have been unable to connect), according to Purple Cat it is because we have been under a Denial-of-Service Attack. That is, unless you have a lot of relatives in the Netherlands who suddenly took an obsessive interest in Asheville’s water fight with Reps. Tim Moffitt, Nathan Ramsey, Chuck McGrady and North Carolina’s GOP-led legislature.
We are working to correct the problem.
Illegitimi non carborundum.
MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry was in Raleigh, NC this week covering the largest Moral Monday protest to date against the GOP-led legislature’s radical rightward tilt. State NAACP president Reverend William Barber leads the protests that grew to well over 1,000 last week, with 150 arrests for civil disobedience.
Perry: We have a series of bills including voter I.D. requirements and doing away with same-day voter registration and a bill that would penalize parents of college students who vote where they attend school. A bill whose numerical name, SB666, is not lost on Reverend Barber.
Barber adds that North Carolina has joined the 15 states that have rejected Medicaid expansion under Obamacare — a group Paul Krugman’s Friday column labeled “The Spite Club”:
Barber: In the first two weeks of the session, they denied 500,000 people Medicaid. Not 500,000 black people. Not 500,000 white people. 500,000 poor people and disabled children in a state that has 1.6 million poor people and 600,000 of them are children.
If we don’t drop our valid lawsuit to stop the forced merger of water and sewer systems, legislators threaten to withhold a Parks Authority and go after our elections process. Threatening the cornerstone of our democracy to get their way is wrong. We approached the Parks Authority in good faith, and now it’s being held hostage. I’m willing to work with anyone, but I won’t bow to bullies. It’s just not right.
Vice Mayor Esther Manheimer says the city is being “told to settle the lawsuit or else” face more unwanted legislation.
One June 3, Rep. Tim Moffitt emailed Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, asking if the city would reach a settlement by the end of that day. “As we are approaching the end of the long session, is it the intent of the City to continue with the legal action against the State and MSD?” Moffitt writes. “Representative [Nathan] Ramsey has been attempting to seek resolution and it seems to no avail. I would like to know by COB tomorrow if a resolution is possible and if not, I need to know that as well.”
In the next paragraph, he brings up changing the city’s election system and delaying this year’s elections so that district elections could take place in 2015 (such a move could keep Bellamy and three Council members in office for another year)
The emails do not explicitly say that the state delegation will hold up the parks authority or force district elections if the water lawsuit doesn’t go away, but Manheimer says, “Who knows what the hell is really going on, but what appears to be happening is that we’re being told to settle the water lawsuit or else. … Those appear to be the options on the table.”
She explains that in conversations, Ramsey has denied that the recreation authority bill is tied to a water settlement, but “then he’ll proceed to give me a 30-minute lecture about while we should settle the water lawsuit.”
So much for the argument that forcibly merging water with sewer would result in cost savings. It won’t.
A bill that repeals a 2009 law that allows the city to use some water revenues to make street and sidewalk improvements when it builds or repairs water facilities received final approval from the state Senate Tuesday.
Passage of the bill could remove some of the impetus for a separate transfer of the water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District, which is now tied up in the courts.
Ending the allocation allowed by the 2009 law yielded the savings consultants to MSD said would result when the water and sewer systems are consolidated. The bill passed Tuesday ends the transfer whether consolidation ever occurs.
City officials opposed the repeal, saying the General Assembly had approved the law because it recognized that other restrictions it imposes on the city water system create a hardship for the city.
I was reading the AC-T article about the legal efforts to halt the unnecessary and irresponsible forced merger of the Asheville Municipal Water System and the Metropolitan Sewerage District, and I clicked over to the comments. There, Tim Peck left this handy list. Have a read.
Water Merger Lawsuit: Temporary Restraining Order
Water Merger Lawsuit: Complaint Filed
Water Merger Lawsuit: Affidavit (Shoaf)
“This course of action is the only rational response to an irresponsible effort,” Council member Gordon Smith told Xpress after the vote. “Just the debt and bond issues will take months and months to sort out, not to mention that the authority that we’re supposed to give the water system to doesn’t exist yet. They’ve crafted a bill that’s impossible to execute.”
He added his thoughts on why legislators filed the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Tim Moffitt and supported by Reps. Nathan Ramsey and Chuck McGrady: “It’s just a case of vendetta politics.”
Read the whole Resolution authorizing legal steps forward.