A legislative committee investigator will determine who did what with regard to Gov. Roy Cooper’s $57.8 million fund attached to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. My concern is why. As a scientist and the state’s former chief environmental regulator, I fear the integrity of North Carolina’s environmental permitting process has been compromised. That’s unacceptable, no matter your position on environmental issues.
The Memorandum of Understanding places inordinate pressure on the Department of Environmental Quality to issue additional permits. It states $58 million will go to Cooper (and can be spent by DEQ) if the project receives all required approvals and is placed into service. Further, “In the event that…the project fails to obtain and maintain the state approvals or any other necessary permits (from DEQ)…the Governor of the State of North Carolina shall deliver…the mitigation funds…to Atlantic [Coast Pipeline].” The Memorandum of Understanding also seeks money for non-regulatory needs. Puzzling, since the pipeline will pay some $11 million to mitigate environmental damages as calculated under state and federal regulations.
Issuance of environmental permits should depend on whether a project meets requirements passed through the legislative process and public rule making. This Memorandum of Understanding leaves scientists and engineers responsible for reviewing permit applications in an untenable position.
Donald van der Vaart
Senior Fellow, John Locke Foundation
Former secretary, N.C. Department of Environmental Quality
Congress needs to act to protect the Mueller investigation from Matthew Whitaker, acting attorney general, who has stated publicly all the ways that he would obstruct it. Whitaker himself is under investigation by the FBI for a fraud scam by his own company, and has not been confirmed by the Senate.
He has not recused himself from the Mueller investigation. If the president is not guilty, why would he fire Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation, and appoint Whitaker who has stated all the ways that he would obstruct it? Does the rule of law still exist in our country? I cannot believe that I am seeing this happen in the United States. We are not Russia. The president is not above the law.
Our president is becoming more blue as the electoral “blue tide” continues state by state. As an elderly, white, male, Southerner, veteran, Christian minister, and businessman, I could not be more pleased. President Trump has consistently brought this country the worst of two worlds with his nexus of personality and policies. His personality embodies complete narcissism, lack of integrity, thinly disguised racism, misogyny, and unwillingness to study and learn. His policies embody ultra-nationalism, anti-immigration, tax breaks for the rich, consorting with Russia, environmental disregard, and international embarrassment for our long-term allies.
This lead to divisive scare tactics such as the “Trumped-up” caravan entailing thousands of immigrants slowly walking several thousand miles from Central America toward our southern border bringing smallpox, leprosy, and crime. It was so dangerous that we had to rush thousands of military troops to the border.
However, there really is a caravan coming toward President Trump. It will be a caravan of subpoenas, indictments, personal tax inspections, illegal mistress payments, and misused non-profit foundations.
Robert P. Kennel
President Trump has repeatedly stated his displeasure with the Fourteenth Amendment, which grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States…” He has contemplated erasing the Amendment by executive action, which means that he believes the Constitution can be altered at will by the president.
That he has considered such an action shows that he has not thought the matter through. If an amendment could be erased in this manner, then it would surely be far more worthwhile for him to remove the First Amendment from the Constitution, thereby putting in legal jeopardy all the detested creators of “fake news.”
Thank a vet
The Christmas parade drew over 50,000 people this year to downtown Raleigh. One week earlier we held the Raleigh Veterans Day parade, which drew about 1 percent of that number.
We should thank all our veterans every time we see them. After all, if not for them, we might not even be able to have a Christmas parade.