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North Carolina’s natural environment has been inundated with a lot of poison in recent days — so much, in fact, that a lot of folks may have forgotten the fact that state leaders are pushing hard to inject a lot more poison into the ground and water in the coming years. Happily, one of the state’s most celebrated native sons is speaking out against it in an ad on behalf of the good folks at the Natural Resources Defense Council.  Click below to watch it.

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Hofmann ForestFor those interested in the growing movement to fight back against the incredibly troubling decision by N. C. State to sell-off 79,000 acres forest that it has owned almost 80 years, there will be a protest this Friday on the N.C. State campus in the Brickyard from noon to 2:00 p.m.

As the organizers have described it:

“This is your chance to help save a 79,000 acre forest that has been owned for the benefit of NCSU for 80 years. The University has just signed a contract to sell Hofmann to an Illinois corn farmer, who has big plans for destroy the forest to grow food for pigs (we’re not making this up!).”

Protesters have also organized a Facebook page and petition that can be accessed by clicking here.

From the good folks at the N.C. Conservation Network:

“A group of concerned Triangle mothers is packing up their children and heading to Washington, D.C., Monday morning to demand that Congress protect families from toxic chemicals in common consumer products.

In the nation’s capital, they’ll ask North Carolina’s Congressional delegation for stronger laws on toxic chemicals and join hundreds of other parents from more than 40 states in a ‘stroller brigade,’ a ‘show and tell’ on toxics and a march to the Senate. Read More

In case you missed it, a 25-year employee of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) tendered her resignation recently in a very public fashion. As reported by WRAL.com, Susan Wilson packaged her resignation in a scathing and courageous letter that blasted DENR Secretary John Skvarla and the McCrory administration for dismantling of the Department’s Division of Water Quality. Among other things, the letter included the following barbs:

“I was a good regulator – I had a bit of distrust for both sides of the aisle – which made me regulate evenly and with common sense and fair judgment. Over the past 24 years I’ve had the privilege to have worked with some of the most intelligent, articulate, and respected environmental scientists and engineers – I’d put them up against my friends in the private sector any day of the week. But the disdain for them (and me) by this administration is too much to bear….

I’m all about customer service (as the majority of employees in DWQ are, and have always been), but that just seems to be a smokescreen for a very extremist republican agenda.

Likely there will be some uptick in the business environment in the next few years (mainly because the economy has started to recover from the disaster your friends on Wall Street created). But when the hot summers and the drought years come back, and we get fish kills again, and maybe there’s fracking going on in the sandhills – it will be the fine folks at DENR who will get blamed for the chaos. The politicians and their appointees, that did the dismantling and created the chaos, will be long gone. We know the drill.”

Good for Wilson. And good for her reference to “customer service’ – a phrase that’s bandied about at every opportunity by the administration, but that’s never adequately defined. Read More

John SkvarlaAt a Monday’s Locke Foundation “Shaftsbury Society” lunch, North Carolina’s Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources John Skvarla made a rather remarkable claim that you can watch in the two-minute highlight video posted here.

Skvarla claimed that his department (and, by implication, the McCrory administration) is not changing or relaxing environmental rules and regulations, but just working harder to help businesses negotiate the bureaucracy. If that’s so, it must mean that the Secretary will be working hard to secure a veto of some controversial bills currently pending on Gov. McCrory’s desk that would do just that.

For example, House Bill 74 would, according to the N. C. Conservation Network: Read More