Tuesday News: Here come the bulldozers

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DESPITE PENDING LAWSUITS, ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION UNDERWAY: Land is being cleared in Cumberland County for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but opponents still hope to stop the project. Bridget Munger, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Quality, said company officials received a stormwater permit for the contractor’s yard in Cumberland County last month. “They have received the required environmental permits and approvals to proceed with work on the project,” she said. Aaron Ruby, a spokesman for Dominion Energy, said the company building the pipeline also has gotten the needed federal permits. “We’re moving full steam ahead,” he said. Mac Legerton, a Robeson County minister who opposes the pipeline, said two lawsuits — one each in federal court and state court — are challenging the project. “This situation is long from over,” he said.
https://www.fayobserver.com/news/20181112/workers-make-way-for-atlantic-coast-pipeline

Tuesday Twitter roundup

No respite for the weary:

I don't even want to speculate what kind of mischief BergerMoore will get up to this time. In the past, they've always floated rumors about some heinous act of repression, and then bait-and-switched it to something (slightly) less horrible. As if playing games with our democracy is a form of recreation, as opposed to an incredibly shameful act.

Massive Solar farm planned near Elizabeth City

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Duke Energy's monopoly is about to get a little thinner:

Pasquotank County officials find themselves in a quandary over whether to welcome or discourage a proposed solar farm that would be one of the largest east of the Mississippi River. Adani Solar USA of Texas plans to build a 2,940-acre solar farm stretching more than four miles on agricultural land along U.S. 17 west of Elizabeth City. The site would operate as Birchwood Solar.

The project would lie within sight of a 104 turbine wind farm – the largest in the state – and could set Elizabeth City apart as a hot bed for renewable energy in North Carolina. The company’s application did not specify the projected megawatt production or the amount of investment, but a project in Currituck County of 500,000 solar panels on 2,000 acres produces 120 megawatts, which can power about 13,000 homes. The $250 million Currituck site generates about $225,000 annually in tax revenues.

I hesitate to say anything before the new General Assembly is sworn in come January, but this (could be) a prime example of how important flipping that Veto-proof majority is. Republicans are reactionary by nature, and no doubt conservatives are already planning to fight this record-breaking renewable energy project. It also demonstrates how important local government elections can be, and citizen participation in meetings:

Monday News: Give it up already

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PLANE WILL FLY OVER CHAPEL HILL WITH BANNER READING "RESTORE SILENT SAM": For the second time this month, a plane with a Confederate flag and “restore Silent Sam” banner was seen flying in North Carolina. According to a Facebook post, the flag and banner were expected to fly over Chapel Hill- near the University of North Carolina campus, Durham and Raleigh as people commemorated Veterans Day across the state. “[The plane] will be in the air for a couple of hours showing the citizens of North Carolina that all veterans matter and that those brave men who were called to serve their country deserve to be honored,” a Facebook post from the group said. The “Silent Sam” statue has been in storage since it was toppled. Chancellor Carol Folt's administration and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees have until Dec. 14 to submit a plan for the statue's future to the UNC Board of Governors.
https://www.wral.com/confederate-flag-restore-silent-sam-banner-fly-over-triangle/17987522/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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VOTERS LOSE, GERRYMANDERING WINS. THIS NEEDS TO STOP: Tuesday 49.7 percent of the state’s voters picked Democrats to send to the U.S. House of Representatives. But only three Democrats (23 percent) actually were elected. “The blue tide did not breach the gerrymandered sea wall that exists because of the broken redistricting process we have in North Carolina,” Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC, said after the election. “That was what we were watching for. We were waiting to see, does anything change? Gerrymandering does provide a protective sea wall.” Phony rationalizing that Democrats competed in several close races in this election and captured a few more seats, misses the point. What Republicans know – and the evidence shows in the results of this most recent election – is that even when the party put up flawed and lack-luster candidates, the districts are so rigged it is all-but impossible to lose.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-voters-lose-gerrymandering-wins-it-needs-to-stop/17979817/

Rachel Hunt pulls ahead of Bill Brawley after mail-in votes counted

In case you're still jaded, every vote does count:

Absentee ballots put Democrat Rachel Hunt ahead of Republican Rep. Bill Brawley on Friday night in one of the state’s closest legislative races. Brawley, who lives in Matthews, led by 52 votes on Election Day. But Friday’s count of absentee ballots gave Hunt a 64-vote lead, according to the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.

The race was one of the highest-profile in North Carolina, matching a powerful committee chair and the daughter of a four-term governor. It was also one of the most expensive. Hunt raised over $1.2 million and got about $900,000 in support from the state Democratic Party. Brawley raised over $410,000.

To be honest, when I saw reports that mail-in absentee ballots were yet to be posted, I assumed the worst. That Brawley's lead would actually grow. I've always associated mail-ins with octogenarian Republicans determined to make their regressive voices heard at least one more time, and I am deliriously happy to have that prejudice shattered. It's still way too close for comfort, and I have little doubt that Brawley will stretch this thing out as long as he can by demanding a recount. And he won't be the only one doing so:

Saturday News: The Red (for ed) wave

TEACHER INVOLVEMENT IN NC ELECTION LEFT AN INDELIBLE MARK: To kick off the election campaign, NCAE organized the May rally that brought at least 19,000 teachers and public-education supporters to Raleigh. The event caused at least 42 school districts that educate more than 1 million students to cancel classes for the day. The march helped personalize the concerns teachers had, according to Matt Ellinwood, director of the Education and Law Project at the liberal N.C. Justice Center. Instead of just seeing NCAE complaining, Ellinwood said, some voters connected the issue to someone they knew, such as their own child’s teacher. “When people saw it was their own teacher, someone in their own community ... it was very powerful,” Ellinwood said. As part of NCAE’s post-march push to the election, the group encouraged teachers to become involved in the political process to support legislative candidates.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article221371205.html

Without a single shot fired...

Our nation has sent millions of us to fight in wars because, they said, if we didn’t our nation would be overtaken by brutal authoritarian dictators, we’d lose our right to vote, our freedoms, and self-determination. We’d be enslaved, persecuted, like so many others. Tens of thousands of us died fighting Nazis, Fascists, Communists and the like. WWII, Korea, Vietnam…and now Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, the brutal truth is that without a single shot being fired, we’ve lost our democracy.

Friday News: Free market tyranny

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MOUNTAIN VALLEY PIPELINE APPLIES FOR PERMITS ON NC EXTENSION: The Roanoke Times reports the application filed Tuesday asks for a 73-mile extension for the 300-mile pipeline that is being constructed in West Virginia and Virginia. Mountain Valley proposed the $468 million project called MVP Southgate in April. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission application says the project would start at the current project's endpoint in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. It would run to Alamance County, North Carolina and provide gas to local distribution company PSNC Energy. Opponents fear environmental damage, object to the pipeline's use of eminent domain to obtain private land and question if the pipeline is needed. Mountain Valley says it hopes to start construction on the new project in 2020.
https://www.wral.com/mountain-valley-submits-application-for-n-carolina-pipeline/17978614/

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