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John SkvarlaOne of the signature “accomplishments” of conservative state leadership in North Carolina in recent years has been the steady and ongoing rollback of state environmental protection laws and regulations. This is not to imply that the state has ever done enough — even under past General Assemblies and governors — to truly protect our ever-more-fragile air, land and water, but it’s also clear that things have gotten much, much worse in recent years.

Whether it’s the efforts to deny climate change and sea-level rise, fast-track fracking and off-shore oil drilling, stop efforts to clean up Jordan Lake, build artificial sea walls along the coast, roll back scores of rules and regulations, pack various commissions and boards with advocates hostile to environmental protection, limit land preservation, slash funding or just defund, demoralize, break up and change the mission statement of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources itself, the conservative agenda has been (and continues to be) a long and ambitious one.

Fortunately, one of the chief architects of the effort, DENR Secretary John Skvarla, has some advice for his agency employees who may feel a sense of discouragement at their increasingly disfavored status: Don’t worry, be happy! Read More

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Mark CreechAs explained in some detail in this morning’s Weekly Briefing, the McCrory administration has been playing some serious hardball with respect the Bonner Bridge controversy. Today, however, we learned of another critic of the North Carolina environmental advocacy community with even more and powerful political tools at his/her disposal: God.

According to the Rev. Mark Creech,  the Executive Director of North Carolina’s Christian Action League (that’s him on the left – Creech, not God), those who side with environmental groups in favor of a longer and more sustainable bridge to replace the existing Bonner Bridge are acting counter to the Divine Plan. Creech said the following in an article that he authored and that was recently published in, among other places, the Christian Post:

“Most people in North Carolina and the nation have been deeply impacted by a cultural Christian worldview, even though they may not know or acknowledge it. The Book of Genesis teaches that mankind is to ‘[b]e fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion…over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). Read More

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Rob YoungA few seat still remain for tomorrow’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation: “Getting our heads out of the sand: The facts about sea level rise and the future of the North Carolina coastline,” featuring one of the nation’s most knowledgeable experts on the subject, Prof. Rob Young.

Don’t miss this important opportunity to hear from this genuine expert on this badly-misunderstood subject.

When: Wednesday, November 20, at 12:00 p.m. — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets) Click here for parking info.

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

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Sea-level rise 2Be sure to reserve your seat for next Thursday’s N.C. Policy Watch Crucial Conversation with Dr. Robert Young of Western Carolina University – “Getting our heads out of the sand: The facts about sea level rise and the future of the North Carolina coastline.”

Young is a Professor of Geology, an accomplished author and a nationally recognized expert on the future of our developed shorelines. Recent natural disasters like the BP gulf oil spill and Hurricane Sandy have also made him a sought-after media figure and commentator who has appeared on CNN, NPR and several other media outlets.

Event details:

When: Wednesday, November 20, at 12:00 p.m. — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets) Click here for parking info.

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

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Sea-level rise 2One year ago this week, the U.S. was dealing with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. What lessons have we learned?  Don’t miss this upcoming NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon:  

Getting our heads out of the sand: The facts about sea level rise and the future of the North Carolina coastline

Featuring Dr. Robert S. Young, Professor of Geology and Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University

If current luck holds, North Carolina may well escape the 2013 hurricane season without the widespread damage that has so frequently plagued the fragile coastal region in recent years. Unfortunately, this brief respite is almost certainly only that – a temporary breather.

Experts assure us that the impacts of climate change (including rising oceans and frequent, damaging storms) are sure to remake the coast in myriad ways over the decades to come and will, quite likely, permanently submerge large tracts of real estate.

So, what does our best science predict? Read More