• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Putting Values Into Action

Earlier in May, two North Carolina Republicans intro’d state legislation that would place obstacles in the path of renewable energy development. Senate Bill 843, sponsored by Senators William Cook and Andrew Brock, leaves anyone with even semi-decent cognitive functioning asking WTF(?). Despite the unquestionable obviousness of the why of that What, you still can shake your head no, no, no in amazement, outrage, disbelief.

Senate Bill 843 mandates the location—a distance at least 1½ miles from a neighboring property line—of solar and wind facilities. Additionally, the bill requires that solar panels and wind turbines are concealed by landscaping, trees, shrubs, flowers. Because green energy is ugly, so ugly it must be hidden from view.

In contrast to the beauty (gasp) of a coal plant, like the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill Coal Plant. This plant is near campus, adjacent to a residential neighborhood, a block from more residences and businesses, and a little over one mile from a public school. Someone told me the UNC Coal Plant meets industry safety standards. It doesn’t.

When coal burns, the following toxins are released: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, mercury and lead. Exposure causes respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and neurological disorders. And the pollutants degrade our home, this planet Earth.

Over the years, students have protested the UNC Coal Plant. Their efforts yielded results, albeit temporary. The university HAD committed to be coal independent in 2020, converting to renewables, however UNC rescinded the agreement. Its current coal permit expires in 2021 but the university is working on a new permit, one allowing the plant to emit four to six times the limits of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide found to be safe by the Clean Air Act. More Chapel Hill neighborhoods (and schools) will be at risk.

Back to the why of What: Sen. Cook, one of the two sponsors of Senate Bill 843, is a retired manager at the Potomac Electric Power Company in Washington, D.C. where he was employed for 34 years. (He’s a fan of fracking.) Let’s hear it for Big Greed with a quote from Cook:

Numerous constituents have contacted me throughout Northeastern North Carolina with their concerns pertinent (to) the potential negative impacts. It is obvious, that many people (due to view, sound, flicker, etc.) would choose NOT to buy a home where there are industrial wind turbines close by.

So, are we to assume these constituents would rather suffer respiratory conditions, heart disease, neurotoxicity, early death than endure view, sound, and the flicker of windmills?

On Friday mornings, my friend and neighbor, Gary Richards, and I stand on a corner across from the UNC Coal Plant. We each hold a no coal sign. Last week, we wore gas masks to make a more profound statement. Motorists slow, give us a thumbs up, honk their approval. Cyclists wave, thank us.

Gary has been a peace and justice activist for years. His present concentration is huge and urgent—learning and teaching how to nurture our planet, to treat nature with the grace it requires, for you, for all, but also because his grandchildren attend the public school near the UNC Coal Plant.

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
Christopher Fons – Conor McMullen
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
Nino Pagliccia
Peace Restored in Ecuador, But is trust?
Rebecca Gordon
Extorting Ukraine is Bad Enough But Trump Has Done Much Worse
Kathleen Wallace
Trump Can’t Survive Where the Bats and Moonlight Laugh
Clark T. Scott
Cross-eyed, Fanged and Horned
Eileen Appelbaum
The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills
Olivia Alperstein
Nuclear Weapons are an Existential Threat
Colin Todhunter
Asia-Pacific Trade Deal: Trading Away Indian Agriculture?
Sarah Anderson
Where is “Line Worker Barbie”?
Brian Cloughley
Yearning to Breathe Free
Jill Richardson
Why are LGBTQ Rights Even a Debate?
Jesse Jackson
What I Learn While Having Lunch at Cook County Jail
Kathy Kelly
Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
Maximilian Werner
Leadership Lacking for Wolf Protection
Arshad Khan
The Turkish Gambit
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Rare Wildflower vs. Mining Company
Dianne Woodward
Race Against Time (and For Palestinians)
Norman Ball
Wall Street Sees the Light of Domestic Reindustrialization
Ramzy Baroud
The Last Lifeline: The Real Reason Behind Abbas’ Call for Elections
Binoy Kampmark
African Swine Fever Does Its Worst
Nicky Reid
Screwing Over the Kurds: An All-American Pastime
Louis Proyect
“Our Boys”: a Brutally Honest Film About the Consequences of the Occupation
Coco Das
#OUTNOW
Cesar Chelala
Donald Trump vs. William Shakespeare
Ron Jacobs
Calling the Kettle White: Ishmael Reed Unbound
Stephen Cooper
Scientist vs. Cooper: The Interview, Round 3 
Susan Block
How “Hustlers” Hustles Us
Charles R. Larson
Review: Elif Shafak’s “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”
David Yearsley
Sunset Songs
October 17, 2019
Steve Early
The Irishman Cometh: Teamster History Hits the Big Screen (Again)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail