Under the Dome

Dome: Environmentalists want fracking air quality regulated

From Staff ReportsSeptember 15, 2013 

An environmental group is calling on the state Environmental Management Commission to regulate air emissions from fracking.

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League with residents of Alamance, Lee and Anson counties announced their request at a news conference last week in front of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources headquarters in downtown Raleigh, festooned with black balloons.

“These balloons represent the dozens of toxic substances that will be emitted in communities across the state,” the league’s Therese Vick said. “The Environmental Management Commission is responsible for protecting the air we breathe, and must require that air quality rules for fracking be developed.”

The environmentalists delivered a letter outlining what they say are air quality impacts that have been studied in states where fracking is going on.

On a related note, three key legislators have been named to the Environmental Review Commission: Sen. Brent Jackson, a Republican from Johnston County; Rep. Mike Hager, a Republican from Rutherford County; and Rep. Ruth Samuelson, a Republican from Mecklenburg County.

The commission will be reviewing legislation enacted this year.

“I am excited about the balance the General Assembly struck between responsible environmental regulations and protecting North Carolina small businesses,” Jackson said in a news release.

Protest against education cuts

Protesters plan to march on the Governor’s Mansion on Monday as part of a youth-centered event to take a stand against recent cuts to education and an elections law that they say will make it harder for students to vote.

The state chapter of the NAACP will join with Common Cause, N.C. Vote Defenders, the N.C. Student Power Union and others. They’ll begin at First Baptist Church in downtown Raleigh in the late afternoon and then walk around the mansion.

Another U.S. Senate hopeful

Here’s another hat in the ring for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate: Aaron “A” G. O’Neal of Cooleemee in Davie County.

He’s been a conservative “since early childhood,” according to the news release he sent out last week.

According to his campaign website – www.HoldontoLiberty.com – O’Neal runs a small furniture store there and is active in the local Baptist church. Says he worked his way on odd jobs through community college and earned a degree at UNC-Charlotte in 1993.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, is seeking re-election against the victor of what could be a hard-fought GOP primary, depending on who else challenges House Speaker Thom Tillis.

GOP luminaries visit N.C.

It was a busy weekend on the GOP front in the Tar Heel state, with some big names visiting on Saturday.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was scheduled to be the headliner in Raleigh for a fund raiser for the Wake County Republican Party. Brewer was to appear at the North Ridge Country Club at an event that cost anywhere from $75 to $5,000.

The publicity photo for the event featured the infamous incident in 2012 on an airport tarmac in which Brewer pointed a finger at President Barack Obama at close range. The exchange was later described as a disagreement between the two about how Brewer in a book had described an earlier meeting between the two over immigration.

In Monroe, there was be what was described as “A Night of Ducks & Huck” featuring former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kay Robertson, the matriarch and chief chef of Duck Dynasty, the A&E reality show. The event was a fundraiser for the Union County Republican Mens Club.

Also attending was to be GOP Senate candidate Mark Harris, and Congressmen Robert Pittenger and Richard Hudson.

Sen. Barringer honored

State Sen. Tamara Barringer, a Cary Republican, is the first lawmaker to receive the legislator rising star of the year award for her work on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The award was made by the Arc of North Carolina for her work on issues relating to guardianship laws and foster care.

“During my 11 years as a therapeutic foster parent for the Methodist Home for Children, I witnessed first hand the tremendous needs in these areas,” Barringer said in a statement. “In the NC Senate, I fight for those who have no voice, who cannot speak for themselves; people with disabilities, those with mental illness, our foster children.’’

Earlier this month, the organization named House Speaker Thom Tillis as its legislator of the year.

Staff writers Craig Jarvis and Rob Christensen

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