MountainTrue Raleigh Report

The MountainTrue Raleigh Report covers environmental politics and policy, with a focus on the issues that affect Western North Carolina. See our 2019 legislative agenda here. 

MT Raleigh Report: The Good, The Bad and The Big Picture on NC’s New Budget

MT Raleigh Report: The Good, The Bad and The Big Picture on NC’s New Budget

Last week, in a blur of committee meetings and debates on the Senate and House floor, the legislature completed its most important task of the 2018 General Assembly session – approval of the $24 billion state budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

As is often the case in the sausage-making of the General Assembly, one has to consider what the General Assembly included (or didn’t) in the budget as well how it went about its work. It’s also important to step back from the details of the budget and consider it in a broader context.

In this report, we’ll try to do a little of all three.

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MountainTrue Raleigh Report: The General Assembly, GenX and the Future of NC Drinking Water

MountainTrue Raleigh Report: The General Assembly, GenX and the Future of NC Drinking Water

May 16 marked the first day of the 2018 legislative session, and it took less than one day for lawmakers to begin making headlines about what is likely to be the biggest environmental issue of the session – the General Assembly’s response to the 2016 discovery of GenX, an “emerging contaminant” in the water supply of tens of thousand of people in the Cape Fear region and perhaps thousands more across the state.

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MT Raleigh Report: GOTV, DEQ Focuses on Enviro Justice, the Session is Coming

MT Raleigh Report: GOTV, DEQ Focuses on Enviro Justice, the Session is Coming

As the May 16 opening of the 2016 legislature’s short session approaches, the pace at the General Assembly is quickly accelerating. Senate and House budget writers have been meeting in hopes of approving a budget on a very expedited schedule once the legislature officially returns. If they stay on schedule, most of their work may be complete before Gov. Cooper releases his budget proposal – now scheduled for May 10.

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MT Raleigh Report: NC DEQ Sec. Regan meets with NC Environmental Groups

MT Raleigh Report: NC DEQ Sec. Regan meets with NC Environmental Groups

Michael Regan, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, hosted a meeting of the state’s environmental organizations last week to review the department’s first year and look forward to the year ahead, including the 2018 legislative session. Regan, who was flanked by his entire management team, listed key hirings in several agencies, as well as responding to the unexpected discovery of the GenX pollutant in the Cape Fear River, as key milestones in his first year under Gov. Roy Cooper.

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MT Raleigh Report – Feb. 19: GenX Gridlock in the General Assembly

MT Raleigh Report – Feb. 19: GenX Gridlock in the General Assembly

Over the last month, the North Carolina General Assembly has met twice in “special session” to consider legislation to address one of the most high-profile threats to our state’s water quality – and public health – in recent years. Of course, we’re referring to the discovery of GenX, an “emerging contaminant” in the Cape Fear River as well as other public drinking water supplies in North Carolina.

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Special Raleigh Report: GenX and the Safety of NC’s Public Drinking Water

Special Raleigh Report: GenX and the Safety of NC’s Public Drinking Water

Controversy over the presence of GenX, an emerging contaminant, in North Carolina’s drinking water has focused on the Cape Fear area, but the issue raises serious questions about the safety of drinking water across the state. This special edition of our Raleigh Report explains what’s been found in NC’s drinking water and how we hope to make it safer.

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MT Raleigh Report | August 9, 2017

MT Raleigh Report | August 9, 2017

Lawmakers gathered last week for a one-day special session scheduled when they adjourned their regular 2017 session in July. Originally, last week’s session was focused on complying with court orders to revise many of their voting districts. But days before the session, the court overseeing the redistricting case ordered a different calendar for revising the maps.

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MountainTrue Raleigh Report | August 1, 2017

MountainTrue Raleigh Report | August 1, 2017

The Senate and House reconvene Thursday for a special session they scheduled before adjourning last month. While lawmakers have the flexibility to do just about anything they choose during this week’s session, they are widely expected to limit their work to a handful of unfinished bills left over from the regular session.

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MountainTrue Raleigh Report | July 7, 2017

MountainTrue Raleigh Report | July 7, 2017

Typically, lawmakers approve the state budget some time in late June or July and sometimes even later. Then it takes a week or two (or more) of long days and nights of committee meetings and debates in the full Senate and House to approve a flurry of bills before they recess for the year. This year, all of that took place, but, instead of ending the session for the year, lawmakers scheduled follow up sessions on August 3 and September 6.

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Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.