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Environment Top Story

Doing the math on Duke Energy’s “climate strategy” — and its campaign contributions

Duke Energy calls its new net-zero carbon emissions plan a "directional beacon," but for critics of the utility, the proposal is blind to the drivers of climate change. Tuesday's announcement from the energy titan offered no hard-and-fast numbers in which to hold the utility accountable, stating only that by 2050, Duke will have phased out coal.

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News Top Story

Monday Numbers: How a Trump administration rule change threatens food stamp access in NC

If there is a strategy to President Trump’s administration – and really, who knows if there is? – it may be a kind of sleight of hand.  Take the immense stakes for North Carolina and many states in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s consideration of a rule change that threatens access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as “food stamps.” 

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Environment Top Story

DuPont tested Fayetteville workers’ blood, found elevated levels of PFAS

Congressional testimony this week by DuPont, Chemours and 3M was damning Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida, glared with the intensity of a welder’s torch at top officials from three chemical titans — DuPont, Chemours and 3M — seated at a table in a congressional hearing room.

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Environment Top Story

Environmental Management Commission approves new compost rules; PW investigation spurs regulators

State environmental regulators will have the power to require most composting facilities to test for emerging contaminants, including perfluorinated compounds (PFAS) and 1,4-Dioxane, according to new rules approved today. The Environmental Management Commission this morning voted to amend and readopt state rules over the 50 composters regulated by the Division of Waste Management.

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Education Top Story

A tale of two schools: One, taken over by the state, struggles. Another, controlled by locals, rebounds.

A few short years ago, Lakewood Elementary School in Durham was a low-performing school where only one in four students was proficient in reading. The school’s poor performance landed it on the list of schools for potential takeover by the state’s new Innovative School District (ISD) – a controversial initiative created by lawmakers in 2016 to allow consistently low-performing schools to be placed under the control of private operators.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

PW special report: News and commentary on surprise NC House veto override vote

[Editor's note: In an extraordinary move unprecedented in modern state history, a narrow quorum of the membership of the state House of Representatives voted to override Gov. Cooper's veto of the state budget bill early this morning. Throughout the day, Policy Watch has been providing up-to-the-minute news coverage and commentary on the day's events, which are summarized below.]

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

PW special update: Lawmakers commence court-ordered redistricting process

The North Carolina General Assembly is embarking on a historically transparent redistricting process without the use of partisan election data, but it’s been slow-going and not without snags. Lawmakers were ordered by a court to redraw House and Senate districts after a three-judge panel found they used unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering to harm Democrats when they created the 2017 legislative maps.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: Another not-so-bright idea from the Trump administration

Energy Department to roll back rules on energy-efficient light bulbs Methane, coal ash, tailpipe emissions, toxic releases, pesticides, endangered species: Since President Trump took office in January 2017, his administration has rolled back...

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Environment Top Story

To buy out or rebuild? Hurricane Dorian shines a spotlight on the future of NC’s low-lying coast

Forty-eight hours before the arms of Hurricane Dorian locked on the coast, North Topsail Beach in Onslow County sounded like an untuned symphony. The roar of the ocean lay down a musical bed for the shrieks of seagulls, a concussion of hammers and the caterwauls of power saws.

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News Top Story

Burr, Tillis keep quiet as volume rises in gun control debate

WASHINGTON -- Democrats are angling to put gun control at the center of the debate when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill next week, but so far, North Carolina’s senators have stayed relatively quiet on the issue. After a summer marked by multiple mass shootings across the United States, gun control is gaining more traction in Congress, even among some traditionally reluctant Republicans.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Dan Forest to headline Charlotte event featuring controversial religious right speakers

Lt. Governor to share the stage with speakers who have vilified LGBTQ and Muslim communities, called for plan to "free Christian children from public education” Next month, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest will be the special guest at The American Renewal Project’s “North Carolina Renewal Project” event in Charlotte. The roster of speakers for the private conservative Christian event includes:

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

In historic ruling, judges strike down North Carolina’s gerrymandered legislative maps

North Carolina voters may have a front row seat over the next two weeks to watch Republican lawmakers correct their redistricting wrong of using extreme partisan gerrymandering to dilute Democrats’ collective voting strength and to entrench their own political party in power. A panel of three Superior Court...

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News Top Story

“Must read” report: NC’s increasingly inequitable economy

The North Carolina Justice Center released its annual State of Working North Carolina report yesterday. The report, which is entitled “Equity in Employment,” highlights several important and underreported truths about the North Carolina economy. These include: Things aren’t nearly as healthy as official unemployment statistics...

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News Top Story

Monday numbers – Special Labor Day edition

This week North Carolinians celebrate Labor Day with backyard barbecues, retail sales and one more beach trip before the end of summer. Policy watch, however, is taking the opportunity to reflect on the history of the labor movement and the by-the-numbers realities of today’s labor force.

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Environment Top Story

PW special report: Our wetlands and streams are worth saving. But it’s incredibly hard to do.

Over the next two weeks, Policy Watch will publish a series of stories about a commonly used method of environmental protection for wetlands and streams called “compensatory mitigation.” The federal Clean Water Act requires developers of residential, commercial, transportation and energy projects to offset “unavoidable impacts” to streams or wetlands.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC trustees signal they could revisit issue of buildings named for white supremacists

A year ago this month, students and activists toppled “Silent Sam,” the Confederate statue that stood on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill for more than a century. Now students and community members are taking aim at what they say is another historical eyesore: the number of campus buildings named for slave owners and avowed white supremacists.

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