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The Winston-Salem Journal gets it right this morning in its characterization of the recent actions of state leaders on sea-level rise:

“Plan for the worst; hope for the best.

That’s the best strategy to follow with regard to global warming, rising sea levels and development along the North Carolina coast. But our General Assembly and Gov. Bev Perdue are using a totally irresponsible approach in planning for the best and hoping that the worst doesn’t happen any time soon.”

You can read the entire editorial by clicking here.

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As noted in this space and others in recent days, Governor Perdue has decided to go out with a whimper when it comes to a group of anti-environment bills that were among the last few measures passed and sent to her by the General Assembly last month. Rather than standing up and vetoing measures she knew and understood to be counter-productive, she opted for the path of least resistance — either holding her nose and signing, or simply allowing a proposal to become law without taking any action.

The Sierra Club and other environmental advocates think she screwed up (see below).

Some observers have speculated that her actions were motivated by a fear of what conservatives might do if they were called back to Raleigh for a veto session (though General Assembly lawyer Gerry Cohen’s recent statements that such shenanigans would be illegal calls this into question). Others think it was simply politics (i.e. a fear of creating a potential distraction for Walter Dalton).

Whatever the reason, it’s a frustrating and disappointing conclusion to the summer legislative season.

Happily, at least one group of people has not given up just yet. The Asheville City Council is apparently advancing a plan to hold a local referendum on State Rep. Tim Moffitt’s ongoing effort to steal the city’s water system — an effort that was advanced somewhat by Perdue’s failure to act on this bill. Good for them. Read More

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This morning, geologist Dr. Rob Young of Western Carolina University has an op-ed in Raleigh’s News & Observer that ought to be required reading for the state lawmakers who’ve decided to listen to the global warming deniers/pseudo-scientists on the matter of sea-level rise.

Young decries the notion that a “compromise” being worked out in the General Assembly would call for a new study (to replace the one he helped prepare as a part of a panel of scientists that advises the state Coastal Resources Commission).

“I have grown weary of hearing our legislators suggest that what we need is a new scientific report on sea-level rise with better science in it. I am told that this is the likely outcome of the compromise being worked out between the state House and Senate.

I have a better suggestion. You have a report that was written by the state’s finest scientists and engineers (at no cost to the state, I might add). If the legislature is really interested in finding the best science, then simply send our report, along with any other reports you like (including those from NC-20) to the National Academy of Sciences for review.”

Amen to that.

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Earlier this week I wrote a column about the downright mean and nasty way that conservatives in the General Assembly are governing our state these days. Over and over during the last 18 months, the people in power have displayed an utter contempt for process and the right of people who differ with them to be heard.

Today, another sad chapter in this story of aggressive know-nothingism was written in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources. It occurred during a discussion of the embarrassing bill advanced by global warming deniers that would attempt to tell scientists which data they can and cannot use to make projections about sea-level rise — an issue that could well impact the very survival of our species.

After spending all of about 10 minutes on the bill, Read More