DUKE AND DOMINION CANCEL PLANS FOR ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE: Duke Energy and Dominion Energy announced Sunday they are canceling plans for the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline that was to run through eight North Carolina counties. The natural gas pipeline faced intense opposition from environmentalists, but planners had just won a U.S. Supreme Court case that would have allowed the pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail. Costs were originally estimated at $5.1 billion, but ballooned to about $8 billion. In a news release, Duke Energy said it would advance its clean-energy goals with investments in renewable energy, battery storage, and other projects. The pipeline was to run from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina, including in Northampton, Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland and Robeson counties.
SCV INSTALLS ANOTHER MASSIVE CONFEDERATE FLAG NEXT TO INTERSTATE: The Sons of Confederate Veterans have installed a large Confederate flag on Interstate 40 in Burke County to show their disapproval that statues are being removed across the state. The 20 x 30 foot Confederate flag is so big that it took six members to raise it up the 80-foot pole. The flag replaces a smaller version and is one of several that have gone up as Confederate memorials have come down across the South. Because the flags are on private property and there aren't any ordinances, county leaders can't remove them. The new flag, which costs nearly $800, is located near the town of Hildebran, where the mayor opposes it. "I've had numerous contacts from people saying that they wouldn't do business in town because of that flag," said Mayor Wendell Hildebrand. "And $800 could be better used to help veterans."
ACLU FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST CITY OF GRAHAM FOR STIFLING PROTESTS: Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed the lawsuit Thursday on behalf of the NAACP’s Alamance County branch and eight people. “Peace and justice should belong to everyone, everywhere and all the time,” NAACP branch president Barrett Brown said in a statement. “The city’s permit requirement and periodic protest ban violate our most fundamental rights to peacefully assemble and petition our government for redress.” A Confederate monument in front of the Alamance County Historic Courthouse in Graham has been the target of protests for several years. Calls to bring down the century-old soldier statue have intensified since the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked national protests. Graham Mayor Jerry Peterman issued a “State of Emergency” order on May 31 that prohibited people from gathering or demonstrating on any public street, sidewalk or public property in the city between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. The mayor issued another order on June 27 that “completely suspended individuals’ rights to free movement, assembly and speech,” the lawsuit says.
GULLIBLE MILITIA GROUPS CONVERGE ON GETTYSBURG AFTER ONLINE HOAX: For weeks, a mysterious figure on social media talked up plans for antifa protesters to converge on this historical site on Independence Day to burn American flags, an event that seemed at times to border on the farcical. “Let’s get together and burn flags in protest of thugs and animals in blue,” the anonymous person behind a Facebook page called Left Behind USA wrote in mid-June. There would be antifa face paint, the person wrote, and organizers would “be giving away free small flags to children to safely throw into the fire.” As word spread, self-proclaimed militias, bikers, skinheads and far-right groups from outside the state issued a call to action, pledging in online videos and posts to come to Gettysburg to protect the Civil War monuments and the nation’s flag from desecration. Some said they would bring firearms and use force if necessary. On Saturday afternoon, in the hours before the flag burning was to start, they flooded in by the hundreds — heavily armed and unaware, it seemed, that the mysterious Internet poster was not who the person claimed to be. Biographical details — some from the person’s Facebook page and others provided to The Washington Post in a series of messages — did not match official records. An image the person once posted on a profile page was a picture of a man taken by a German photographer for a stock photo service.
LOBBYISTS RAKE IN THE CASH BY MANIPULATING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: It is not known precisely what Mr. Pompeo discussed with the Raytheon executive, but in a few months, the State Department had issued an emergency waiver that circumvented the congressional hold on the arms deals, allowing billions of dollars in Raytheon missiles and bombs to be sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The department did not deny that Mr. Urban arranged the meeting but said the emergency waiver — now the subject of congressional and inspector general investigations — was consistent with American national security objectives. The story behind Mr. Pompeo’s meeting with Raytheon, which has not been previously reported, is emblematic of the outsize influence wielded in Washington by Mr. Urban and a small group of other lobbyists and operatives who backed Mr. Trump when most of the K Street establishment was keeping its distance. Those relationships became lucrative after Mr. Trump won a surprise victory on Election Day and rewarded early loyalists with key posts, continued access or both. Mr. Ballard’s firm was paid nearly $65 million and Mr. Miller’s more than $18 million by interests for which the two men had registered to lobby through the end of March, the most recent period for which comprehensive data is available. And while Mr. Urban has been a registered lobbyist at the federal level since 2002, his federal lobbying revenues have nearly tripled in the Trump era — rising to more than $25 million in the roughly 40 months after his swearing-in from less than $9 million in the roughly 40 months before Mr. Trump became president.