Under the Dome

Dome: Radio campaign aims at Hatteras beach driving

Staff writersJune 15, 2013 

Environmentalists are worried about a bill coming up for a committee vote in Congress this week that would roll back coastal protections against beach driving.

They’ve just launched a radio ad campaign in North Carolina to defeat Senate Bill 486, introduced by North Carolina’s U.S. Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr.

The bill would scrap the Cape Hatteras management policy for managing off-road vehicle use, which has been in place since 2012 after extensive public input. The bill calls for return to an interim policy, which environmental groups say devastated sea turtle and shorebird populations.

Defenders of Wildlife has put out the radio spot.

“There is no need for this legislation; Cape Hatteras saw record numbers of tourists last year (North Carolina Department of Commerce), sea turtle nest counts were at an all-time high, and piping plover and other shorebirds are rebounding (National Park Service) since the plan was put in place,” said Jason Rylander, senior attorney for Defenders of Wildlife, in a news release. “Their efforts will turn this great national park back into a parking lot.”

UNC leader bashes budget

UNC President Tom Ross weighed in Friday on the House budget that passed last week, saying it has “sobering implications” for the university campuses.

“Across the country, state leaders from both parties are making strategic investments in their public universities,” Ross told the UNC Board of Governors. “They understand that talent is the most valuable commodity in today’s economic competition, and they’re gearing up to compete.”

Ross said 10 of 11 Southern states – including Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia – have adopted budgets in 2013-14 that will increase funding for higher education. South Carolina is poised to do so as well, he said.

“Meanwhile, here in North Carolina, we’re facing significant budget cuts on top of the more than $400 million in permanent reductions that were assigned two years ago,” Ross said.

However, he said he was grateful the House budget did include some new investment in the university system’s strategic priorities, as well as funding for enrollment growth and research programs.

“Still, I worry about the impact of the deep cuts and the effect they will have on our ability to continue to provide high-quality education to our students and to help North Carolina’s economic recovery,” Ross said. “We are operating leaner and more efficiently than ever before, producing more degrees with fewer resources. And now that the state’s economy is beginning to grow again, it is important that we continue to invest in the university.”

Methodists address issues

The North Carolina United Methodist Church has adopted resolutions on Medicaid expansion, family planning and homosexuality.

The conference, at its three-day annual gathering that concluded Saturday in Greenville, also took the N.C. General Assembly to task for a spate of legislation that runs contrary to the church’s social principles, including voter ID, cuts in education, access to health care, putting the tax burden on the poor and middle class, and degrading the environment.

The conference supports expanding Medicaid that the federal government would have funded to extend health coverage to about half a million low-income people in the state. The General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory refused the expansion.

It also takes a position endorsing programs that benefit pregnant women, provide for family planning and advocate for the health of women, infants and children; and urging members to contact members of Congress to increase funding for international family planning to decrease mortality rates.

The conference passed a resolution asking the general conference of the United Methodist Church to drop language in its social principles that say homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, and to affirm the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people within the church.

And the conference passed a resolution acknowledging “with moral revulsion” the crimes of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortion provider convicted of three counts of murder in the deaths of newborn babies.

Staff writers Craig Jarvis and Jane Stancill

Send tips to dome@newsobserver.com.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service