The 2018 midterm elections are upon us and North Carolina voters will soon pass judgment on, among many other things, an unprecedented raft of six constitutional amendments.
The proposals include:
- a proposal to permanently cap the state income tax rate,
- a proposal to remake the state Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement so as to alter its composition and how its members are selected,
- a proposal to dramatically alter and limit the Governor’s authority when it comes to filling vacancies that occur on the state courts,
- a proposal to require some undetermined form of photo identification for in-person voting,
- a proposal to establish a state constitutional “right” to hunt and fish, and
- a proposal to enact a multi-faceted “victims’ rights” amendment known as “Marsy’s Law.”
There are many compelling reasons to oppose all six – starting with the absurd and outrageous lack of process that accompanied their approval by the General Assembly during the final harried days of the 2018 legislative session, the hurried rewrite of two amendments in late August, and the deceitful and dishonest way the proposals will be summarized and presented on the ballot.
Still, even if one were to set aside all of the profound problems of process and procedure, there are numerous important substantive deficiencies in each amendment that are more than adequate to justify a “no” vote. Here is a brief list: [Read more...]
Thousands of animal waste lagoons, hazardous waste sites and other repositories of toxic material lie in and near the projected path of Hurricane Florence, increasing the risk of breaches or leaks of dangerous chemicals into the environment. (This is one important reason you should avoid wading through or touching flood waters.)
The NC Department of Environmental Quality has a new mapping and data feature, which shows the locations of these sites, both in map form and spreadsheet. All of the maps below are from the DEQ site and can be clicked on to enlarge them. We’ve linked to each map; once you get to that DEQ page, click on the “data” tab to view the addresses and facility names in spreadsheet form.
The first map shows all of the animal feeding operations for permitted swine, cattle and poultry farms that use wet litter. (Dry litter poultry farms are “deemed permitted” and are largely unregulated.) With more than a foot of rain forecast, there is a higher risk of lagoon breaches, which can send millions of gallons of animal waste to rivers, wetlands and nearby property. [Read more…]
- A double whammy: Dams that are high hazard and in poor condition
- Florence drives home why we must listen to our coastal experts (micro-podcast)