Trump threatens to Veto HR 535 PFAS regulatory bill

Breaking his own promise to control these chemicals:

The Trump administration threatened to veto H.R. 535, the PFAS Action Act, which would set deadlines for EPA to reduce ongoing PFAS releases and set a drinking water standard for two notorious PFAS chemicals. Last February, David Ross, the Environmental Protection Agency’s assistant administrator for water, pledged to Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the top Democrat on the Senate environment panel, that “by the end of this year,” the agency “will propose a regulatory determination, which is the next step in the Safe Drinking Water Act process” for establishing an enforceable legal limit.

But although the EPA has sent a regulatory determination to the White House, administration officials have blocked efforts to require drinking water utilities to filter PFAS from tap water.

It's an election year, so you'll have to excuse me for moving politics to the forefront of this conversation. But this issue is in the top five of things that directly affect North Carolinians, and those voters need to know just how little Trump cares about the health and well-being of their families. Every day that passes in the absence of EPA oversight is a gift to polluters like Chemours, and a curse to the rest of the state. But it isn't just a NC problem, some 100 million Americans may be dealing with these chemicals in their drinking water:

Thursday News: DTH rocks


DAILY TAR HEEL SUES UNC-BOG OVER SILENT SHAM: The Daily Tar Heel, UNC-Chapel Hill’s student-run newspaper, is taking legal action against the University System, its Board of Governors and individual board members over the controversial Silent Sam statue agreements. The DTH Media Group filed a lawsuit Tuesday saying the $2.5 million settlement and additional $74,999 payment between the UNC System and the N.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans were “conceived, negotiated, approved and executed in total secrecy” in violation of North Carolina Open Meetings Law. The group is asking the court to declare both settlements null and void. They argue that the group of board members assigned to work on the Silent Sam issue are members of a public body and therefore, they were required to meet in public, give notice of the meetings and keep full and accurate meeting minutes.

Judges throw out Virginia ACP permit in African-American community

Environmental Justice, finally:

A panel of federal judges has thrown out the permit for a natural gas pumping station in the historic African American community of Union Hill in Buckingham County, saying state regulators failed to consider whether the facility would disproportionately affect a vulnerable population. The ruling is another setback for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a controversial 600-mile, $7.5 billion project being led by Dominion Energy.

Issued Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, the decision faulted Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board for an action that it said was “arbitrary, capricious, and unsupported by substantial evidence in the record.”

The folks in Union Hill were featured in a recent Friday fracking video, and we should all applaud this decision. Things haven't changed much since the Industrial Revolution began shifting dangerous, noisy, and pollutive facilities into communities of color, and they've gone from one form of bondage to another. Hat-tip to the Southern Environmental Law Center for attempting to change that dynamic:

Wednesday News: More rare than an albino deer

ONLY ONE CASE OF A VOTER IMPERSONATING ANOTHER VOTER: But while voter fraud is rare, it does sometimes happen. How much is an unknown question, since there’s no nationwide data, and almost no state data, either. North Carolina, in fact, is perhaps the only state in the country to track such data. North Carolina compiled a voter fraud audit after the 2016 elections. Officials didn’t repeat it after the 2018 elections — although they did stop an alleged fraud scheme in Bladen County to help a Republican congressional candidate. In the state’s audit of the 2016 elections, North Carolina documented 508 allegations of voter fraud. That’s about 0.01% of the 4.8 million votes cast. Officials said that even if every allegation turned out to be true, no election results would have changed. And only one case out of those 508 was of someone impersonating another voter at the polls — which is the kind of fraud that voter ID would stop.

Tuesday News: GOP mismanagement


REPORT DETAILS LACK OF FUNDING FOR EDUCATION OVER LAST DECADE: But WestEd says that when adjusted to 2018 dollars, per-pupil spending in North Carolina has declined about 6% since 2009–10. The report also says that, based on 2017 dollars, average salaries for the state’s teachers that year were lower than compared to 2003 or 2009. This level of education funding, according to the report, has led to problems such as fewer teachers employed, “stagnating salaries” and “underfunded” high-poverty schools. “They try to address it, but unfortunately, funding is not there — that’s what we are told,” an unnamed middle school teacher says in the report. “For instance … we don’t have textbooks, we need to make copies of reading selections to teach those kids. We only get, like, 1,500 copies per nine weeks. … [W]e [use] our own money, we have to buy cartridges for our printers to print this.”

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Joining the ranks of the chickenhawks:

Aside from the fact Trump didn't notify/confer with the Gang of Eight in Congress before doing this, which should have both houses up in arms, he put thousands of our military folks in the region in danger wagging this particular dog. Tillis should be calling for restraint, not cheerleading.

Lawless king

Dear Senator Tillis,

You probably agree that
our US Constitution is about as good as it gets.
America's inspired framers engaged in serious debate
and achieved a masterful balance,
a country ready for anything.
Except a lawless king.
That's where we are.

Like you, I was raised to revere the Constitution.
Also like you, I've taken an oath to defend it
against all enemies foreign and domestic.


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