Regarding “NC suit: Companies dumped pollution knowing health risks” (Feb. 5): Dangerous pollution like GenX and coal ash (coal combustion residuals) in our rivers and lakes is exactly the type of emergency situation that state Senate leader Phil Berger and the General Assembly need to address in a special session. The legislature must stop creating emergencies of their own by trying to control the state judiciary and address these man-made health crises.
The legislature (and former Gov. Pat McCrory) failed miserably with the coal ash cleanup, which is still a mess and will be for years to come. Now the Senate under Berger doesn’t even want to start looking at the GenX crisis until the regular legislative session begins in May. Do they want the drinking water crisis caused by the disposal of the chemical known as GenX to continue for years, like coal ash?
Dangerous chemicals have been released into the Cape Fear River for years . A current lawsuit alleges that GenX is linked to a number of cancers and diseases. . Meanwhile, the legislature has slashed the budget of the state Department of Environmental Quality by millions of dollars, so it is less able to investigate and pursue pollution like GenX and Coal Ash.
Regarding “Panel clears nomination of Farr to federal bench” (Jan. 21): I’ve written to Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr urging them to oppose the nomination of Thomas Farr to a lifetime appointment to the United States District Court.
Farr has a history of opposing workers’, civil and voting rights. Specifically, he has supported legislation that would intimidate and disenfranchise black voters and he even helped create North Carolina’s voter ID law, which was struck down by the courts.
Finally, he was involved in designing the 2011 electoral maps that were rejected by the Supreme Court because of racial gerrymandering. I want my Senators to oppose the nomination of Thomas Farr to the federal bench.
Regarding “NC OKs key permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline” (Jan. 27): Governor Roy Cooper recently shocked his supporters by announcing his support for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on the grounds that natural gas is a necessary “bridge fuel” between coal and renewables. Such a position would have been been reasonable many years ago at the start of the energy boom before we knew that methane, which is released in vast quantities in the extraction of natural gas, is itself a potent greenhouse gas that burns hotter and more intensely than carbon dioxide.
“Methane warms the planet on steroids,” according to a recent article in Scientific American. Building more gas-powered pipelines and compressor stations will only expand our reliance on fossil fuels and delay the move to renewables. Pipelines will put those who live in their pathway, most likely the poor and minorities, dangerously close to projects that can leak, spill, rupture, or explode.
There are good reasons why pipelines are so unpopular. I hope that Governor Cooper will do himself, his constituents, and the planet a favor and recognize that natural gas is not the solution to global warming that its supporters claim it to be.
Lynn Mitchell Kohn
Family leave needed
Monday marked the 25th anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which was enacted to protect the employment of family caregivers holding full time jobs and who struggle to do both jobs well. As of May 2016, it had been used over 200 million times. That is cause for celebration.
However, the FMLA, while noble in intention, needs changes. Its unpaid leave creates hardship for workers who are new mothers or new fathers and who struggle with the daunting expenses of caregiving. Caregiving needs reconsideration, too. Often framed as a mostly feminine endeavor deserving of sympathy and a pat on the head, caregiving deserves the dignity and recognition of remuneration – a salute rather than a nod.
According to the Urban Institute, 88 percent of Democratic voters and 71 percent of Republican voters support paid leave. The time to implement paid family leave is now. We all fall ill and grow old. Eventually we will all provide care or need it ourselves. When the high standards for love met by caregivers are supported by a public policy of paid leave, we will have renewed reason to celebrate the FMLA.