Advocacy group says offshore drilling would be safe, profitable

January 20, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

More than 100 people turned out for a panel discussion on offshore energy exploration, held Tuesday in Raleigh. Michael Whatley, executive vice president of Consumer Energy Alliance, which sponsored the meeting, said a five-year plan, if approved by Congress, calls for 14 potential lease sales in eight areas around the country — one area includes North Carolina.

NC community colleges consider tuition surcharges

January 19, 2016

(Rocky Mount Telegram)

North Carolina's community college system will decide later this month whether to allow individual campuses to tack on a surcharge of up to $256 a year to tuition bills. The surcharges would help pay for expensive equipment required to train workers in fields including health care and advanced manufacturing. The move would run counter to some states, such as Tennessee and Oregon, which now offer free community college courses.

NC revenues $120M above target

January 18, 2016


North Carolina has collected $120 million more than projected for the first six months of the fiscal year, or through Dec. 31. That's 1.2% above the revenue target, according to economist Barry Boardman, though lawmakers won't have a better idea of tax collections until after April 15.

State environmental agency says EPA is dragging its feet on coal-ash removal

January 15, 2016


Citing lengthy delays by the EPA, Tom Reeder, assistant secretary of the state Department of Environmental Quality, says the state agency is considering issuing permits for Duke Energy to remove water from coal-ash ponds without federal approval.

Legislators discuss conflicting reports on water-safety standards

January 14, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

Last spring, the state Health Department told more than 400 well owners near Duke Energy power plants not to drink the water due to contaminants, though similar levels of the same contaminants also have shown up in municipal water systems across the state.

Lottery proceeds won't benefit teachers

January 13, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A surge in sales of Powerball tickets – the jackpot total had reached a record $1.5 billion as of late Tuesday – is sure to benefit the N.C. Education Lottery, though a change enacted during the 2015 legislative session means proceeds won't go to teachers and assistants but instead to bus drivers, janitors and other support staff.

Spellings picks Boston Consulting to give UNC a close look

January 12, 2016

Boston Consulting Group has the contract to study the UNC System, an early move by new President Margaret Spellings. It may signal big changes ahead for the system.

Food stamp recipients must log 20 hours of work, education

January 11, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A federal requirement for food stamp recipients that was suspended during the Great Recession has been reinstated in 23 counties. Adults under 50 who don't have children must prove they are working, volunteering or taking classes at least 20 hours a week to receive benefits. The requirement will be restored in the other 77 counties – many of them rural and undergoing a slower economic recovery than urban areas – starting July 1.

New sheriff in town overseeing North Carolina budget

January 8, 2016

Gov. Pat McCrory named Industrial Commissioner Chairman Andrew "Drew" Heath to succeed outgoing Budget Director Lee Roberts, who is returning to the private sector. The governor also appointed Jeff Epstein as Secretary of Revenue to replace Lyons Gray, who was appointed to serve on the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

McCrory met privately with Duke Energy officials

January 7, 2016


Gov. Pat McCrory and other top state officials hosted Duke Energy executives at a private dinner at the Executive Mansion in June, amid legal issues concerning the company's handling of coal-ash pollution, according to a WRAL report. Officials did not provide information about what topics were discussed at the meeting.