Government

State budget director rejects budget increase for UNC system

March 5, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Art Pope says the UNC Board of Governors has requested an 11.3% increase over the current year's budget for 2014-15, an unrealistic proposal that does not include employee raises. The state budget director says the governing body ignored his office's instructions to request budget expansions of no more than 2%.

DENR cites five more Duke Energy plants for violations

March 4, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources accused Duke Energy of violations at five more power plants in the state, saying the utility doesn't have the necessary federal permits to discharge storm water. The DENR previously issued two violation notices to Duke regarding its Dan River power plant in Rockingham County.

DENR issues violations against Duke Energy over coal-ash spill; fines likely

March 3, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued two notices to Duke Energy for violation of environmental standards related to the Dan River coal-ash spill. The utility will be cited for failing to have a stormwater permit for the Dan River plant and for failing to prevent the spill and maintaining water quality standards in the river. 

High-paid consultant to DHHS left scarce details of work

March 3, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A consultant hired by the state Department of Health and Human Services left few records behind detailing the work he did in his 11 months with the agency. Joe Hauck was paid $310,000, more than the department's highest-paid employee, and was credited with saving the agency millions of dollars.

Leader of Charlotte airport commission asks FAA to weigh in over who's in charge

February 28, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

The chairman of the Charlotte Douglas Airport Commission has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to speed up its decision over whether the independent commission or Charlotte City Council should run the airport. Robert Stolz says city and state officials have failed to reach a compromise over who should control the airport.

Tillis files for Senate run; speaks out against raising minimum wage

February 27, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis says he opposes President Obama's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and that a government-imposed minimum wage creates an artificial threshold. The Republican filed papers to run for U.S. Senate on Wednesday. Read Business's Man, BNC's cover story on Thom Tillis from April 2012

McCrory, DENR tell Duke Energy to move coal-ash ponds

February 26, 2014

(The Charlotte Observer)

Gov. Pat McCrory and John Skvarla, secretary of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, wrote a letter to Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good demanding costs and other details on what it would take to move coal-ash ponds away from drinking-water sources. Duke has until March 15 to respond.

HPU poll: McCrory disapproval rating up since January

February 25, 2014

(The High Point Enterprise)

The latest High Point University poll shows Gov. Pat McCrory's approval rating dropped to 36%, one percentage point down from a previous poll in January which was conducted just before Duke Energy's coal-ash spill. The number of state residents who disapprove of the governor's performance rose from 40% to 49%. 

McCrory pushes for offshore seismic testing while in Washington

February 25, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Gov. Pat McCrory, along with governors and officials from six other states, met with Secretary Sally Jewell of the U.S. Department of the Interior to discuss the possibility of seismic testing and offshore drilling for oil and gas in coastal waters.

Recent coal-ash spill may lead to stiffer environmental regulation

February 24, 2014

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The federal investigation of the recent Duke Energy coal-ash spill near Eden may lead the Charlotte-based utility to shut down its 32 lagoons where coal ash is stored and relocate the material to safer locations farther from rivers.