Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE WEAK REPUBLICAN CASE AGAINST EXPANDING MEDICAID IN NC: Perry’s argument follows a series of hollow Republican warnings about Medicaid expansion. First there was the rationale offered by then-Gov. Pat McCrory. He deemed North Carolina’s Medicaid program “broken” and said it would be irresponsible to add a half-million more people to the program. It turned out that the program is actually quite efficient compared to other states and has even come in under budget in recent years. Next came the claim that the state couldn’t afford its 10 percent share of the cost of expansion. But under Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget proposal the state’s share would be covered by the hospitals and health care plans that would benefit from the surge in insured patients. Finally, there’s the semi-conspiracy theory that the federal government might renege on its commitment to pay a minimum of 90 percent. Given that 36 states are now getting that level of payment, it’s unlikely that their representatives in Congress would approve cutting it back.
https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/article236040708.html

Saturday News: Welcome Mayor Baldwin

CHARLES FRANCIS CONCEDES VICTORY IN RALEIGH MAYORAL CONTEST: A former council member in North Carolina's capital city will become its next mayor, as the second-place finisher in this week's election decided against seeking a runoff. Mary-Ann Baldwin got the most votes in Tuesday's six-candidate race for Raleigh mayor. Unofficial results showed Charles Francis trailing Baldwin by 7 percentage points. Francis said in a written statement on Friday that while there was no clear mandate for any candidate, the pathway to a runoff victory would have required the campaign to raise several hundred thousand dollars in just a few weeks. Baldwin will succeed Nancy McFarlane, who has been mayor since 2011 and chose not to run this fall. Francis lost to McFarlane in a mayoral runoff in 2017.
https://www.wral.com/with-no-runoff-baldwin-now-raleighs-next-mayor/18692384/

Natural Gas is not the cure for Climate Change

It is actually making it worse:

"The time is now to stop building more fossil fuel construction," Shindell, who is part of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said on a conference call with reporters.

The press conference was arranged by NC WARN, a climate activism group that has opposed Duke Energy's expansion plans for years. Shindell keyed not just on carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas responsible for rising average temperatures, but on its less-covered cousin: Methane.

Methane is something like 60 times worse than carbon dioxide in trapping insolation, so it warrants much closer scrutiny than Co2 emissions. But its volatile nature makes that difficult, because it will escape into the atmosphere wherever it finds a weakness in its containment infrastructure. There are over 1.5 million active gas and oil wells in the United States alone, and each one suffers from fugitive emissions of Methane. Same goes with the pipelines, and monitoring thousands of miles of those is impossible, even if the industry tried. Which they don't. And this desperately needs a clarification:

Friday News: Look in a mirror, pal

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BERGER BLAMES DOT FOR FUNDING SHORTFALL: "We’ve known for years that the Map Act was something that we were going to have to have money for, so they’ve known about that. We also, for at least a year, have known the issues dealing with the extra money that was utilized to pay for damage during the hurricanes," Berger told WRAL News. "The question is, among some members, why has this all of the sudden come up as a crisis, and what could they have done to manage through it?" Agency defenders have pointed to laws setting a minimum and maximum for the DOT's cash reserve as one reason for the fiscal straits that have left pre-planning for some 900 projects on hold. In addition, the impact of Map Act settlements and additional storm-related expenses have further exasperated the cash balance issue. Most recently, the Cooper administration made a request for $50 million to help address Hurricane Dorian expenses by the department.
https://www.wral.com/senate-leader-ready-to-close-session-without-budget-deal/18689458/

GenX concentration in Wilmington's water a lot worse than previously reported

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Sometimes breakthroughs in technology are depressing as hell:

According to a new analysis of preserved samples from 2014 to 2016, PFAS that contain an ether molecule were found at concentrations of at least as high as 130,000 parts per trillion near Lock and Dam No. 1, near the drinking water intake for the City of Wilmington. The contamination originated at the Chemours/DuPont facility more than 80 miles upstream.

The samples at Lock and Dam No. 1 were taken in 2015 by NC State and EPA researchers. But only now, with advanced technology, can scientists more accurately measure the concentrations of PFAS in water.

Don't be fooled by the short time range of the samples; those levels have likely been that high for decades:

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