Home Energy and Environment NC Environmental Degradation Provides Cautionary Tale: Don’t NC VA

NC Environmental Degradation Provides Cautionary Tale: Don’t NC VA

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The Blue Virginia front page provides an excellent call by Andy Schmookler for liberals to come alive in 2014 and presumably to gain seats in the US House and hold onto the US Senate. His message could not be more important or timely. Congressional elections aren’t far away. Virginia gained the top three executive positions and the Virginia Senate, but there is so much more to do. As if you need any reminder, your neighbor to the south provides a cautionary tale to never, ever give up. What’s at stake is not only everything we hold dear, but also our ability to even live in our country or on this planet. The stranglehold by the corporate elite on environmental protection is that gripping. The Koch-Peter Peterson-Art Pope anti-environmental (indeed, anti-human) wrecking crew has succeeded at dismantling environmental protection in state after state. And the evidence is stunning. In the course of less than two weeks North Carolina shows what happens when you West Virginia a once progressive state.

(See the list below the fold.)

North Carolina’s state constitution enshrines citizens right to clean water and clean air and the state’s responsibility to protect them. Fat chance with the current crowd on Jones St.

**First, 3.5 million gallons of City of Burlinton sewage poured into the Haw river, which funnels into Jordan Lake, the drinking water source for Cary, Apex and Pittsboro. And yet no one among the public knew for days. DENR enabled Burlington to keep the whole thing quiet.

**Then, barely a week later, the drinking water in Danville Virginia was seriously compromised by a Duke Energy NC potash dump site. Again, news was slow to make its way to the public. Regulatory negligence abounds. Amazingly, Phil Berger, hard-line conservative state senate leader and now candidate for Congress, calls for an investigation (investigate thyself!). This after he and his cronies (along with “Governor Duke Energy”–he worked for 20 years at Duke Power) gutted environmental protection in NC. Then they blamed everything happening on their watch on former Governor Perdue (and every other Democratic ex-governor). There is near-zero state environmental oversight with the current regime. And you cannot blame that on any previous administration. Duke Energy now says it will clean up the spill. But without regulations and oversight, it is difficult to have any confidence whatsoever.  

**Now this weekend a PCB spill has contaminated the drinking water int he city of Charlotte, NC.

**Just last Thursday another spill dirtied Charlotte’s drinking water too.

As if that is not bad enough, Jordan Lake is also imperiled by an untested approach to “clean up” the lake after the GOP gutted the Jordan Lake rules, thus giving developers and municipalities upstream almost no responsibility for effluent. The plan is to install 36 “circulators” or fan-like devices to reduce algae growth. It’s a two-year experiment at two small inlets of the lake. Eventually there will be around 140 of these devices on the lake. And despite zero evidence the idea will work, it was approved this past week over Democrats’ objections. Take a look at this photoand see what you think. Note the lake cleanup was necessary before the recent spill.

**Worse still, horizontal fracking will begin in a year or so, thus destroying the water table near the southern portion of the Cumnock formation. It is not a possibility but a near certainty that the aquifer will be contaminated because the shale, the deposits of which are more shallow than in other major shale formations nationwide, actually pierces the aquifer. Methane and other contaminants will thus flow directly into the aquifer. This is a disastrous situation for the people of North Carolina, but the environmental destructos persist.

**Finally, The global warming deniers are positioning America to suffer under one disaster after another. In NC state scientists cannot even use the words global warming! They are forbidden from studying rising tides.

But the GOP have a plan.  That plan is disaster capitalism. When increasingly ferocious storms hit, they’ll swoop in and privatize everything they can get their hands on and then hold flood and storm victims hostage. They’ll squander disaster funds on those not even inured by storms (as in New Jersey), favoring instead new developments. No matter what federal prosecutors find, we already know Chris Christie is another lesson in why to never entrust a Republican with the public purse, global warming remediation, or disaster planning. Disasters are no time for economic bullying and scientific nihilism. Tell that to a Republican.

I’m afraid neither party is worth a damn regarding protecting us from fracking. But there is a huge difference on other environmental issues. And it is past time to make the sharp contrasts in our personal safety under Republicans v. Democrats. There simply is no comparison.  

  • DJRippert

    Do you think there is any chance those water circulators might work?  It seems like even their proponents can’t explain how they control algae.  I’m all for trying new approaches to clean up America’s waterways but these things sound pretty improbable.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    As we are now in the midst of the second Gilded Age, we are seeing the same effects on the environment as during the industrial revolution, except now those effects are compounded by even more dangerous threats to the air we all breathe and the water we all drink. Governance by corporate greed cannot clean up the mess caused by corporate greed. Far too many of our politicians are bought and paid for by monied interests, the media is bought and paid for by corporate advertisers, the rest of us are unrepresented and relatively powerless. The “regulators” have evolved into “non-regulators.”

    Perhaps there is one more Teddy Roosevelt out there. Perhaps a new generation of muckrakers will be heard. So far, I haven’t seen any signs of that. Instead, as is usually the case with humans, some catastrophe will probably be needed  to wake us up.